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The Small Cards of the Tarot
An essay analysing the small cards of the Tarot in terms of a speciﬁc Qabalistic framework, and in terms of their astrological and elemental attributions. by Erwin Hessle
December 13th, 2007 e.v. Sun in 20◦ Sagittarius, Anno IVxv
may be reproduced. including photocopying. or by any information storage and retrieval system. books and reviews. First edition 2007 Privately published For more by the author. in part or in whole. or utilised. electronic or mechanical. visit http://www. transmitted.com/ . in any form or by any means. recording. without permission in writing from the publisher. except for brief quotations in critical articles.erwinhessle. No part of this book.Copyright c 2007 Erwin Hessle All rights reserved.
Contents Introduction 1 A Qabalistic Framework 2 Wands 3 Cups 4 Swords 5 Disks 6 Summaries A Reference Tables vii 1 29 45 59 71 87 95 v .
vi CONTENTS .
for no such correctness exists. The description of symbols in this essay is a deliberate attempt to interpret them in the light of a particular context. the symbolism of the astrological signs — representing. A note of caution will be necessary. Secondly. For this reason. This narrow interpretation is deliberate. so any criticism against the essay or against the author on this basis is misplaced.of of their relationshipsprovide insight the cards the Tarot — speciﬁcally Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot — in terms to a particular Qabalistic framework and in terms of their astrological and elemental attributions. it aims to provide insight into that framework and into those astrological and elemental attributions by examining how they contribute towards the meanings of the small cards. and not in the symbol itself. In particular. the author has exercised no restraint in highlighting those partial elements of a particular interpretation which are most suitable to his needs. The usage of symbols in the current work may and does differ from other usages in some respects. The meaning of any given symbol resides in the consciousness of the individual reader. so much so that there is usually little diﬃculty in ﬁnding an acceptable and plausible interpretation to ﬁt vii .33% of the world’s population each — are very complex and broad. and nowhere is this more true than in the realm of “occult” symbolism. sometimes insigniﬁcantly.Introduction of essay is Firstly. and sometimes markedly. 8. and whilst attempts have been made to not completely reverse the “traditional” understanding of a symbol. it aims to The purpose intothis forty smalltwofold. the reader should be on his guard against any ideas of evaluating the “correctness” of the usage of those symbols in this essay. Symbols in general are by their very nature ﬂexible in meaning. as they are often held to do. that context being a model — described in Chapter 1 — of the development of the individual consistent with Thelemic metaphysics.
The main symbols used are the elements of the Tree of Life themselves (with the exception of the 22 paths) which are explained fully. Each zodiacal sign represents thirty degrees of sky (12 × 30◦ = 360◦ ) and each sign can be further subdivided into three equal decans of ten degrees each. along with elemental. The ﬁrst decan of each sign is called the ascendant. and the third the cadent. as so: Inﬂuences on Ascendant Succedent (None) Fixed (None) Mutable (None) Cardinal Sign Cardinal Fixed Mutable Cadent Mutable Cardinal Fixed Table 1: Zodiacal Inﬂuences on the Decans For instance. ﬁxed and mutable signs represent the equivalent stages of their respective elements.viii INTRODUCTION a given need. the succedent decan of Aries (the cardinal sign of ﬁre) is inﬂuenced by Leo (the ﬁxed sign of ﬁre) and the cadent decan of Pisces (the mutable sign of water) is inﬂuenced by Scorpio (the ﬁxed sign of water). the ascendant decan of Aries is ruled by Mars (the natural ruler of Aries). the Aces are not attributed to a decan. Each of the small cards of the Tarot. the succedent decan is ruled by the Sun (the natural ruler of Leo. i. making 36 decans in all. the ﬁxed sign of ﬁre) and the cadent decan is ruled by Jupiter (the natural ruler of .e. are attributed to one of the decans. the succedent decan its full force. Each decan is also ruled by one of the planets. the second the succedent. the decan is ruled by the ruler of the sign that inﬂuences it. One element of astrological symbolism which may beneﬁt from further explanation relates to the decans. In one system. The ascendant decan represents the initial appearance of the sign. and as an illustrative exercise may wish to attempt to derive equally satisfactory interpretations from diﬀerent or even opposing astrological signs. There are diﬀerent ways of calculating the planetary ruler. and the cadent decan its decline. planetary and zodiacal symbols. The reader should therefore be wary about attributing too much importance to the remarkable ﬁtness that traditional interpretations appear to exhibit in the current work. The succedent and cadent decans are “inﬂuenced” by the other signs of the same element in the cardinal–ﬁxed–mutable order. in much the same way that the cardinal. 36 cards in total across the four suits. from two through ten. any astrological text can be consulted for the meanings of the latter group.
the ascendant decan of Aries is ruled by Mars. then the ascendant decan of Taurus is ruled by Mercury. The Sun. Venus. each planet rules ﬁve decans with the exception of Mars. the Moon. which rules six. 1 Note that if we begin this order at Saturn.1 That is. . Mercury. The system that is used here ascribes planetary rulers to each successive decan in the order Mars. the succedent by the Sun. but only seven planets.ix Sagittarius. and the cadent by Venus. then it gives the natural order of the planets in decreasing order of distance from the earth if — like the Ancients did — we put earth at the centre of the Solar System and put the Sun in its place. This system is not used in the Thoth Tarot. the mutable sign of ﬁre). Saturn and Jupiter. and is not used in this essay. and so on. Note that because there are 36 decans.
x INTRODUCTION .
precisely because of the inﬁnite variety of attributable symbols and ideas.” in addition to illustrating a very regular and satisfying explanation of the structure of the Tree of Life. the fact that this framework does coincide remarkably with a “traditional interpretation. For those not familiar with the Tree of Life. and it is not the purpose of this chapter to attempt to provide a “correct” or “complete” understanding of it. most notably in the names of the lower two triads and in the fact that Tiphareth is not attributed to self-awareness. The Qabalah — as it has come to be used in Western occultism. speciﬁcally that of the development of the individual — from mere potential to actual physical existence — in a manner consistent with Thelemic doctrine.Chapter 1 A Qabalistic Framework purpose of this chapter to present a Qabalistic frameThe which an examinationsmallthoseiscards can bring further insight. at least — is a classiﬁcation system comprising ten “sephiroth” (“sephirah” being the singular noun) or “emanations.1 Nevertheless. the framework given presents one of many possible interpretations. and the lower two triads pointing downwards — with the tenth and 1 See The Khabs is in The Khu for a fuller exposition of this doctrine. the presentation of such an understanding would be an impossible task. work against which the cards of the Tarot can be examined. Instead. The Tree of Life is a framework against which almost any idea can be placed.” The Tree of Life model (and there are other models) arranges these ten sephiroth in a column of three triads — the topmost triad pointing upwards. but does diﬀer in some aspects. should put the value of a careful study of it beyond any reasonable question. and to of The framework presented is for the most part consistent with occult tradition. Indeed. a brief description will be in order. 1 .
” The sephiroth are connected by 22 “paths” which are attributable to the 22 trumps of the Tarot. The outer veil is Ain.erwinhessle. being not in existence. that we cannot explain the mystery of something arising from nothing. and zero is the only sensible substitution. pure emptiness. In order for something to come out of nothing — which we explain in the next section — there must somehow be the potential for it. the “singularity” referring to Kether and the negative veils being the mystery as 2 http://www. and therefore would not be one. The fact that the ancient tribes (including the Jews.com/images/qabalah/bigtol. The middle veil.”2 The remainder of this chapter will discuss the negative veils and the sephiroth. “nothing. Ain Soph. Yet it should be clear that it is nothing. One is not a suitable basis for creation therefore. even though there is quite literally nothing there. because being one.” and represents nothing in its most “positive” form. The upper triad is separated from the middle triad by an imaginary chasm called “the Abyss. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK ﬁnal sephirah appearing on its own beneath them. One cannot be subdivided into creation. because if it was so capable then it could not be all encompassing. The “Big Bang” theory also supports this position. . that is the source of creation.” and represents inﬁnite space. “limitless light. It cannot be expanded into creation. The fact these these are termed “veils” suggests that — in our current state of knowledge at least — we cannot penetrate them. The innermost veil is Ain Soph Aur. This error has been made by all the monotheistic religions.” and represents inﬁnite space with the potential for creation. no characteristics. and hence are outside the scope of this essay. because it must by deﬁnition already contain everything.2 CHAPTER 1. It cannot be changed into existence. it has no qualities. so called because they necessarily hide whatever is behind them. is “limitless. and provide some instructive commentary on their most pertinent correspondences. The Negative Veils The Tree exists within the negative veils.” and the middle triad is separated from the lower triad by an imaginary veil called “the Veil of Paroketh. who created the Qabalah) had no number for zero may go some way towards explaining their lack of insight into this matter. Ain is the absence even of space.png shows a diagram of the Tree of Life. The Tree as a whole is surrounded by three “negative veils. and not one.
In addition. its ﬁrst appearance is indeed the beginning of its expansion. this is required in the case of a single singularity. We also have the idea of “multiple universes” which must always be separate. before such travel could be possible. inﬁnitely small. then because one has no qualities this is equally as inexplicable as the idea that it came from nothing. cannot be said to exist. as well as all the matter and energy.3 to where this singularity came from. This does not contradict our previous statement that empty space only comes into being with the expansion of the singularity. and the theory accordingly implies that the singularity originated from nothing.” is the “seed” of the singularity once the empty space has been created. being so inﬁnitely small. The idea of a singularity therefore. the “limitless light. i. as is rather more likely. It also suggests that either we may have been a little harsh in our criticism at the end of the previous paragraph or. that the idea of the negative veils may be a relatively modern invention. This suggests ancient understanding that even empty space had to be created. if each of these universes contains its own space. the idea that space curves around a mass suggests the possibility of a universe with no space at all. then there is necessarily no space “between” them (“between” naturally ceases to have much meaning in such a case) and hence no way to get from one to the other as there is no medium through which we could travel. Ain Soph. If the singularity contained the seeds of creation in itself. This is further conﬁrmation that the singularity does indeed come out of nothing. when carried back far enough. Thus the idea of Kether can represent the crystallization of multiple universes from one principle of Ain. We cannot conceive of a existing singularity. its inﬁnitely strong gravitational ﬁeld containing it in an inﬁnitely small point. all the space in the universe is also contained within the singularity. We would have to escape the space in our own universe. Indeed. the lack even of space. as well as ﬁgure out how to traverse the “nothingness” shielding the other one. . but will be diﬀerent for any other universes. it is the “principle” of empty space that is created here. however. Ain. Ain Soph Aur. will be common to all. limitless. suggests an “inﬁnitely small” point which.e. which is remarkable given that only now are we ourselves coming to this same conclusion. and space only comes into being once the singularity begins to expand. applies to our own universe. or else there will be nothing in which to contain the expanding matter. its ﬁrst appearance must be preceded by the creation of empty space. for once the singularity begins to grow the expansion of empty space must always precede it. Empty space must be there before the singularity becomes anything other than inﬁnitely small.
i. but we need not assume this theory to be correct. and even if we are barred from using the word “before” there is still something outside of the universe which we are seeking. Let us be content to say that these are the ideas behind the negative veils and the origins of creation in the Qabalah. then we no longer have to consider the idea that something came before it (because we abandon our idea of linear time) and we no longer have to consider the idea that there is something outside of it (because we abandon our idea of creation). a cone does indeed taper to a point. Answering questions of this kind may ultimately allow us to rend the negative veils. These problems do go away if we abandon the whole idea of creation. All such theories have to deal with the paradox that if there was a point of creation. something must have existed outside of it. a “cone of existence” does not expand from a point. although it may well raise new questions of its own. and appears to be that upon which the Qabalah was created. the ﬁrst spark of actual creation. to quite literally create something out of nothing: 0 = (+1) + (−1). 0 = 1 − 1. The Archetypal Triad Kether Kether is the concentration of the negative veils into a point.e. and if this question has an answer. something to do the creating. Zero extends equally in either direction. equivalently. having a beginning and an end. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK beginning to expand. but it does not stop there. The theory of time as being linear. In the same way. The above discussion works with the Big Bang theory as an illustration. if time can be said to a beginning. If we consider the possibility that (and here use of terminology inevitably becomes confusing) the universe has “always” existed. however. is a common one. It continues to taper until even the point does not exist. and that time is merely a property of it. or. we must instead conceive of expansion occurring from zero. and continue. The best way to think of this is a cone. it ultimately expands outwards from nothing. positively and negatively. In the more . however. and expose the mysteries of creation which were apparent to the inventors of the Qabalah. it tapers all the way to nothingness. This idea simply renders invalid the concerns on which those questions are based. Such speculation is beyond the scope of this essay. what happened before that.4 CHAPTER 1. how can the term “creation” be appropriate? The argument that time is a property of the universe created with it does not help us. however.
The appearence of the ﬁrst block of actual existence is Kether. As soon as this ﬁrst block develops in the two blocks. the ﬁrst emanation from nothing. as Kether here illustrates. empty space is created. It is.1 represent “units of existence. there is no deeper theory behind this presentation or indeed of the idea of units of existence in the ﬁrst place. This attribution can only ever be momentary however. we attribute the number one to it for this purpose.5 general case. Since n can take any value we choose. we have an explanation as to how an inﬁnite variety of existence can come out of nothing — “Every number is inﬁnite. the idea of Kether is no longer present. Figure 1. there is no diﬀerence. more pure than any other number. As each number is unique. 4 . The quality of Kether we are illustrating therefore is this quality of oneness. Kether can be attributed to the singularity. it becomes no longer single. As we saw from our discussions of the negative veils. for instance. That being said. each number has this exact same quality of “oneness”.” and we have shown them to be discrete for the purposes of ease of illustration only. and not the number one itself. 3 AL I. 0 = n − n. and is actually present for a microscopically small period of time. and cannot be anymore attributed to Kether. more unique. Ain.1: Cone of existence The blocks in ﬁgure 1. Kether is thus the ﬁrst appearance of creation. there is only one 349.”3 — and we need not waste any time with the idea that one is more special. To the left of the point of the cone is nothing. which must precede the creation of actuality. 0 = (+n) + (−n). Ain Soph. As soon as the singularity begins to develop. As the point is reached.
the spark of Kether is inherent in everything.” however.” for instance. and the “Malkuth of Chokmah” represents the ﬁnal development of the two. just as the ﬁrst appearance of the seven out of the six can be. Whenever something new is created. since the existence of any given unit depends on that ﬁrst spark of its arrival into manifestation. although in the Tree of Life relating to the whole of creation. that momentary period. the principle of Kether is involved. This is what is meant when it is said that each sephirah contains a Tree within itself. It is active because it brings with it the concept of motion. or more generally. each stage of development will follow the path of its own tree) but Kether is concerned with the initial creation of the thing developed. With only two points. Thus. change. of course. the creation is a necessary outﬂow from the previous development. Kether is only attributed to that ﬁrst initial spark. the idea of Kether — the principle of Kether — ﬂows downwards right through the Tree. but we will conﬁne our discussion to the ten principles themselves. or force. giving us the idea of the “Chesed of Binah of Netzach of Tiphareth of Kether of Binah of Hod. In all the following Kethers. just prior to the appearance of the idea of three. From Chokmah down to Malkuth. we have no concept of distance. Without . not necessarily just the creation of the universe as a whole. The distinction between all these “lower Kethers. however.” and the “Kether of Kether. The ﬁrst appearance of the two out of the one can be attributed to Kether. or form. the idea of moving between them comes into being. This is also what is meant when it is said that the sephirah are “emanations” of the preceding ones. with a second point. All we can say is there has been motion between the two points. continue indeﬁnitely. is that in the ﬁrst Kether the creation comes from nothing. although the principle of creating something wholly new is inherent in each case. when no idea of its existence was in place previously. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK In the same way.6 CHAPTER 1. since in those principles everything else is contained. Kether is associated with the principle of the creation of anything new. male principle. Chokmah Chokmah is the active. The “Kether of Chokmah” relates to the ﬁrst appearance of the two from the one. however. formed by the extension of the point into the line. the ﬁrst appearance of the other elements can also be attributed to Kether. the remaining sephirah are concerned with the process of development (and as we have explained. This subdivision of Trees could.
how long it takes to travel between them. In ﬁgure 1. It is this extension from the unity of Kether. since without a measure of distance we do not have the concept of distance changing. and the thing created is both inherent in it and ﬂows necessarily from it. the simple fact that there are two points demonstrates that motion has. but they require their counterparts to give them any meaning — or indeed. occurred. Strictly. which is further conﬁrmation of the erroneousness of the “one god” theory.” Alternatively. the ideal of change. change. but not in the third point. since they not only require their counterparts to be understood. or indeed any diﬀerence between the two. Knowledge begins with classiﬁcation — “this is not like that. implicit in the act of creation.7 another point of reference to which comparisons may be made. then. Kether is the act of creation. since the moment two points are brought into existence this idea follows necessarily as we have described. rather than in isolation. All this discussion shows the necessity of considering these sephiroth in conjunction with all the others. and imbues it with its active male qualities. formed by the addition of a third point to create the plane. the . Binah Binah is the passive. Kether is the ﬁrst spark of creation. In other words. that there has to be something separate to observe the two original points.” or “this is like that” — and we need at least three points for this: “this quality is seen in two points. this ﬁrst necessary progression from the act of creation. we cannot really apply the idea of actual motion to this concept. However.1 we examined the process of creation pictorially in the form of a cone. is pure force. or more properly. in fact. i. that characterizes Chokmah. Kether can never exist in isolation. With a third point. or shape. In this sense. it must be accompanied by the thing being transformed (nothing) and the thing it is transformed into (Chokmah). we cannot say anything about how far apart the two points are. This idea is implicit in Kether. viewing Kether as the momentary principle of the transformation of nothing into something. Chokmah then. Thus. not the thing created itself. we can imagine that we need a third point in order to make the distinction in the ﬁrst place. For this transformation to have any meaning. any existence — at all. and without the concept of distance changing we cannot really say that there is motion. and Chokmah is really the beginning of the process of creation. female principle. therefore the two points are alike.e.
since even with pivots on the vertices it is the only shape that cannot be distorted without being broken. the triangle is the ideal load-bearing structure. in engineering.2. since it ﬂows necessarily from the creation of three points. so practical impossibilities need not concern us yet. of providing a home. of the delineation of a space. of restriction. of support. the idea of a plane and a shape brings with it a concept of enclosure.” the ﬁrst extension of the point.2 illustrates these ideas pictorially: Figure 1. which is of course itself not possible. Chokmah is “B. and the ideas of knowledge which is merely structured and stabilised experience.8 CHAPTER 1.” the point. This idea is also implicit in Kether and in the act of creation. of upbringing. not the inﬁnitely small point. Figure 1. in fact. we could place the line completing the triangle much closer to the point.2: Triangle of creation Kether is here “A. of course. This is feminine because it is linked with the idea of nurturing. It must be remembered that we are dealing with principles here. In ﬁgure 1. according to the laws of mathematics. We must consider this triangle to be almost impossibly small.” the completion of the cone. however. What must be understood is that Kether . The three legged stool is the only type that can never wobble. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK concepts of form and structure come into being. but that momentary state between inﬁnitely small and being in existence. and Binah is “C. as close as we like. With the addition of the third point the concept of discrimination comes into being. We have to conceive of this triangle as being the smallest triangle that can possibly be created.
Equally. Chokmah and Binah considered together form the supernal triad. Chokmah represents that extension itself. is seen in the expression: “change is stability. and as the liberating father. the triangle. but some structure still remains. to improve it and to grow it. working against each other. giving structure to her son’s life so that he may grow as a unit. it can destroy a structure. it was created purely as a result of Chokmah’s extension. and Binah represents the ﬁrst result of that extension. and as the smothering mother. and ﬂow necessarily from it. the only form Chokmah’s extension could have formed itself into. as are commonly understood. passive quality. The role of force is to change structure.” and hampering his development. the idea of form is inherent in the force of Chokmah. We can also see this idea in our above diagram. with archetypes upon which manifested existence will be based. Equally the idea of force is inherent in the form of Binah. yet it is equally true (the triangle being the simplest plane) that this is the only thing that could have been initially created. Thus. In the three dimensional universe. in this case. Equally. The notion of force can be seen as both the stern father. It is error to think of them as opposites. Kether. or archetypal triad. the imposition of force. so the supernals deal with ideas. since its extension must produce form. Here we instantly see the constraint of the force of Chokmah into form. Because Binah is the result of the extension. This may be true in a purely physical sense also.” The two ideas are inextricably linked.9 represents a point from which extension can be made. The image of the supernal triad. opposed to each other. with concepts. the actual creation of an idea. This restriction is not imposed upon Chokmah. and stability is change. it arises inevitably from its nature. the notion of stability can be seen as both the nurturing mother. It is not true to say that force can destroy structure. the force to break free. it can only channel and direct it. illustrates that these two principles are complementary. structure cannot stop force entirely. refusing to let him “leave the nest. it is considered to have a female. The fact that the ideas of Chokmah and Binah are implicit in the act of creation. are viewed as a mass of electrons orbiting the . harness it. the father who releases his son into his own life. Atoms. with Chokmah and Binah springing out of Kether. in some circumstances. because it was created from Chokmah’s extension. restricting her son’s life. the two dimensional plane can never actually exist except in concept. to modify it and. since only by extension can form be produced. We stated that Binah was passive and female.
distance. is additional conﬁrmation of the correctness and self containment of these three principles in the . In this sense. i.10 CHAPTER 1. for the supernal triad is the only one with an upward pointing apex. since with merely two parts motion has no meaning. the ultimate source of power. Viewed from this aspect. not that matter vibrates. The attribution to Saturn with its idea of limitation. at the same time. in the number three. This is another illustration of why Chokmah represents the ideal of motion. since the immutable physical laws of nature are the ultimate adversary. it is the motion of the planets in orbit around the sun that keeps the orbit constant. motion is required for freshness. Similarly. then motion. These ideas of change and stability therefore ﬂow necessarily from creation. but that matter is actually nothing other than vibration itself. they are the ultimate challenges. This is echoed in the law of entropy. being the challenge of recognising one’s ultimate limitations. that stops them spiraling inwards towards a ﬁery destruction. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK nucleus at a frantic pace. law and restriction from the sense of inevitability. and the hardest challenges in life. without points of comparison. and not motion itself. all have no meaning. that a closed system will decay. The stability inherent in the triangle. we can see that without form and structure motion has no meaning. motion is nothing other than a change in structure. and motion has no meaning outside of a structure for comparison. The two concepts are therefore interdependent and complementary. and neither can exist by itself. to maintain itself. rather than imposition.e. Saturn is associated with coping with adversity. and it is the lesson of this mystery which is ultimately associated with Saturn. We may go so far as to say that structure requires motion. rigid systems restricting growth. As we illustrated in the discussion on Chokmah above. and are the only two ideas to ﬂow necessarily from it. We invite the reader to try to conceive of any other ideas which do not ultimately come back to these two. yet. not opposite. Kether. Equally. it could be said that matter is motion. Recent developments in string theory suggest that particulate matter may ultimately come down simply to vibrations. and it is why it is said that the victories over the limitations in Saturn are the sweetest ones. time. which is the meaning of Binah. Therefore matter — form — requires motion to exist. and ﬂowing necessarily downwards out of. This complete coming to terms with reality is understanding. and their overcoming represents both a transcendence of the universe and an alliance with it. the principles of change and stability being inherent in. Binah can be thought of as physical law. without form. The glyph of the Tree of Life illustrates this. or change. that it is change that brings matter into existence in the ﬁrst place.
and the thing created. for the laws of physics work purely on change.11 act of creation. and with this addition the idea of a solid is made possible. represented by the drive for expansion. This is the idea of stability in manifestation.e. nothing but a constraint on motion. there is the beginning. As the supernal triad deals with ideals. To further cement this distinction. archetypes. to move any further is to move into manifestation itself. i. Together. after all. on the motions of the particles — law is. Binah and Chesed are the only two consecutive sephiroth on the Tree not to be connected by a path. should be clear from this outﬂowing into manifestation. From a physical creational sense. fortune and abundance. The association with Jupiter. This is the simplest solid that can be constructed. Like the triangle. The fortune (which also . This is appropriate for the ﬁrst manifestation across the Abyss. from ideal to manifestation. and the formulation of this ideal is necessary before any actual manifestation can occur. the plan simply ﬂows necessarily from the laws. principles. that is. except now we are enclosing a three dimensional space. from potential to actual. it is through Chesed that all possibilities are made manifest. and need not be consciously determined. rather than in principle. The manifestation of these laws are also suggestive of a plan. this also brings with it the sense of structure. the ﬁrst notion of actuality. the “grand plan” of creation from which everything else must follow. or motive here. which are all inherent in each other. and four vertices are at least required. the pyramid with a basal triangle. of form. through this acting out of physical laws. this stability can be though of as the result of the laws of physics. the supernal triad symbolises the ideal of the process of creation. for creation to be made manifest. From the formulation of the process of creation in the Supernals. although there need be no considerations of intelligent design. and encompasses the only two ideas to ﬂow necessarily from the principle of creation. There is a vast gulf between Binah and the subsequent sephirah termed the Abyss. the act of creation. and this further illustrates the necessity of change in the concept of stability. to make this distinction between potential and actual clear. the beginning– middle–end idea of a process which is the fundamental idea associated with the number three. there must be some sense of how the elements are to interact. The Actual Triad Chesed Chesed is the addition of the fourth point.
authority and morals. which can fade because it is not based on the same kind of physical necessity that the laws of Saturn are. concerned with the search for truth (since Chesed is below the Abyss. the idea of structure imposed rather than structure inherent in the idea of existence. This type of structure is necessarily less stable than that of the three. for a willingness to accept the role of fortune. through an inference rather than as arising from ﬁrst principles. the fortress. and in particular from the idea of Binah. and this drive continues throughout the full process of creation. in its best aspects. the capability of learning. Four is also associated with the square. The idea of abundance refers to the fact that everything in creation has entered manifestation through this process. and that this process contains within it the ability to create everything. Jupiter represents power and authority. It can also be viewed as the inference of physical laws through the observation of manifested nature. or fate) of Jupiter arises as a result of the physical laws formulated in the Supernals. of approaching an apprehension of truth. In the same way this can be extended to the idea of the creation of more arbitrary laws and morals. This type of law is clearly more imperfect and can never be absolute. which is clearly a very diﬀerent thing from the physical laws themselves. The “capacity for learning” associated with Jupiter depends to a large extent on the ability of the individual to make inferences which approximate most closely to the “real” or ideal laws of the supernals. which are ultimately there for “good” purposes (i. Jupiter contains the ideas of justice and mercy (“mercy” is the meaning of Chokmah) because of this ability and willingness to expand on its own restrictions. through the transformation from the potential to the actual. For that reason Jupiter has been associated with idea of temporal law. The need for expansion. which are always potential and implicit. which is why Jupiter is not nearly as stern a teacher as Saturn is. will be much reduced.e. To the extent that this ability is not present. The drive for expansion in Jupiter is clearly a direct result of this outﬂowing into manifestation. from Chesed all the way down to Malkuth. creation and growth) bringing an increase in insight and understanding. is required to break free from the selfimposed restrictions which hamper this ability. and less perfect since is it separated from the ideal stability by the Abyss. Thus. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK means destiny. Compared to Saturn. from the ideal. when functioning in its best aspects. the symbol of created rather than inherent restriction.12 CHAPTER 1. Jupiter is. Jupiter has the ability to modify the rules and laws that it sets when necessity arises. the ideas of benevolence and the search for wisdom in Jupiter shows that. this search cannot be completed here) and not . for direction.
for we can now have actual motion. but Geburah is the movement of the manifested thing. there is no need for law. without interaction of the elements. to grow. The attribution to Mars should be clear. Thus. an escape from or a modiﬁcation to the structural stability. This is the impulse that fulﬁls the physical plan in Chesed. Geburah is the expression of existence in accordance with the physical laws. Chesed is the bringing into manifestation of creation. and the possibility of motion within the two. rather than in principle. out of the necessity of physical law. when the pentagram is inverted. for energy arising from physical law and working in harmony with it is pure and irresistible. that carries it out. however. This is the reason why the structure in Chesed gives rise to the thought of a “divine plan”. this drive can only ever be expressed in one direction. hence the idea of strength which is the meaning of Geburah. their source). Geburah Geburah is the addition of a ﬁfth point. Tiphareth Tiphareth is the conjunction between change and stability. This then is the idea of change in manifestation. If there was no movement. to develop. rather than against them. There are elements of predestination and fate in the idea of Jupiter. The structure of Chesed exists to give form to the motion of Geburah. If the elements existed in a perfectly static state. The laws of Saturn cannot be so modiﬁed. Geburah represents the drive to overcome restriction. they could not inﬂuence each other. since they cannot aﬀect one another. their drive to express their own nature. Geburah is the interaction of the things made manifest. and each could be said to be a universe in itself. their will. Five being the triumph of spirit over the elements (or. In the physical sense. expression of energy and work. and in esoteric terms has historically been linked with self-awareness. or. it is the unfolding of the “plan” of creation. With ﬁve points. more . dynamic and strong. It also suggests a point outside of the structure of the solid. and the motion of Geburah serves only to modify the structure of Chesed according to the laws laid down for it. since their purpose is to constrain and direct motion. physical laws would be redundant. and the only relief from them is to learn how to work with them. of course.13 restriction for its own sake. we have the possibility of two separate solids.
Tiphareth represents their resolution. and it is ultimately this thing which moves. and in combination those choices represent a journey. This is the “true” will. The Book of the Law describes this in terms of stars — “Every man and every woman is a star. As we saw with the Supernals. and the creation of form) so the three sephiroth of the actual triad contain between themselves a complete picture of the act of creation (the bringing into manifestation. distinct. individuality. but 4 AL I. concentrating a centre). the manifested unit). a path. and this brings with it the idea of an individual. and interacting with the remainder of the universe on its journey. these three ideas are quite impossible to separate. Every number is inﬁnite. the action of the manifested elements in accordance with law.”4 This suggests individual stars crystallising into manifestation from the potential of the universe (in the same way that the potential for existence crystallized from the negative veils. each individual and unique with its own path to follow. and contains in itself all the qualities and necessities which must follow thereby. which is a necessary component of manifestation and law. where the three sephiroth of the Supernals contained between themselves a complete picture of the ideal of creation (a beginning. the actual existing thing as distinct from the rest of the universe. but their combination in Tiphareth is the idea of some thing moving through the structure of the universe. so the actual triad relates to individual manifestations of the universe. the individual. The addition of the sixth point brings with it a choice of motion. there is no longer just one point outside of the solid that one could move to. and it is the choice-making quality of will. Thus. there exists another possibility. Geburah is the motion of manifested elements. The important thing to consider about this will is that it has arisen necessarily out of the ﬁrst manifestations of form and force. Chesed is the bringing into manifestation. there is no diﬀerence. These choices of motion are what suggest the individual. a course of action. The interplay between change and stability brings with it the idea of a progression through the “plan”. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK accurately. 3–4 . and they must be considered together. that gives rise to the idea of an individual. This is naturally suggestive of will. and the subsequent development of the thing. Chesed is form.14 CHAPTER 1. and Geburah is motion. the necessary and eternal motion of the star through the universe. an extension from that beginning. and which is constrained into form. As the Supernals relate to the universe in totality. whether automatic or not. and that it is therefore perfectly in alignment with them.
and it is this apprehension that is attributed to the idea of force.15 a necessary part of the whole.” which is the meaning of Tiphareth. the necessity of it all. For reasons which should be clear from above. partaking in the nature of inﬁnity and its path being completely subject to the necessity of the laws of the whole. For the generation of experience to have any meaning. it is the progression of the universe. we will term this continuation the individual triad. for the chance of union. in the potential plane. The ﬁrst thing one notices about this triad compared to the Supernals is that the apex is pointing downwards. Beauty contains within itself the ideas of both force and form. has its own path. a union.”5 The creation of Kether. This is an illustration of the creation according to The Book of the Law — “For I am divided for love’s sake. and experience. the actual is separated from the individual by the Veil of Paroketh. It is this creation of a manifested. The individual created by the actual triad in our system has individuality. the individual must feel himself to be separate from the rest of the universe.” but it is not yet aware I. are seen as giving rise to a reintegration once become actual. Moreover. change. however. from the principle of existence. Dealing as they do with manifestation below the Abyss. for the generation of experience through union. the seamless combinations. that gives rise to the idea of “beauty. since although it is form which appears beautiful. 29 idea is developed further in The Khabs is in the Khu. the division into positive and negative and the resulting ideas of change and stability. Above the Abyss. in the actual plane. Below the Abyss. Therefore the Tree continues downwards.” but we cannot agree with this attribution. existing unit. but we need a mechanism for that. we will term this second group of three sephiroth the actual triad. 6 This 5 AL . being part of the whole but at the same time a discrete part of it. It shows that the division of creation is undertaken in order that individuals may be created. for the idea of beauty to have meaning there must be something to apprehend it. movement. Whereas the potential was separated from the actual by the Abyss. pairs of complementary points are resolved downwards.6 Crowley attributes self-awareness to the number six in his “Naples Arrangement. As we stand. The use of the word “veil” is illuminating. we have an individual with the potential for self-awareness. the Veil of Paroketh here being equivalent to the veil surrounding the Khabs. the value of experience will be greatly diminished if he perceives only parts of his greater self. ideals sprang necessarily from the source. has what can be called a “self. that is the ultimate beauty.
Tiphareth is connected with the Holy Guardian Angel. In exactly the same way. deriving from the universal will. It is the idea of motion in the individual. We cannot have selfawareness without a sense of separation. which has been termed desire. It is necessary because individuality. Without this ability to self-direct. of a choice as to what path is to be taken. This will become apparent as we continue our discussion. and the individual (with its sense of self-awareness) to the third. If it were otherwise. . individuality and awareness would be little more than a prison.16 CHAPTER 1. there can be no real self-awareness. resorting as it did to Vedantic symbolism without really delineating why this should be necessary. its core. or of the development of a new skill. it is far more sensible to attribute the ideal to the ﬁrst three. the awareness of the self. Our system is much more intuitive in this regard. the consciousness would be reduced to a mere observer. for instance. of consciousness. is veiled to the individual. its consciousness at this stage being merely the direction imposed on it by the will of the universe. without it. rather than as a participant. Tiphareth is the core of the individual. is in control of his being. there could be no experience of the overcoming of fear. The idea of individuality. his true nature. the force that drives him through his individual existence. requires the idea of self direction. The Naples Arrangement did a poor job of explaining seven. the actual to the second three. any more than one can achieve these experiences through watching a movie. the illusion that the individual is responsible for his own direction. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK of this. The Individual Triad Netzach Netzach is the active individual quality. Given the threefold nature inherent in the structure of the Tree. and is also why Tiphareth is associated with the Sun. but is imperfectly reﬂected to him through the Veil of Paroketh in the form of desire and instincts. eight and nine. and through the Veil of Paroketh it informs and guides the lower sephiroth. confers with it the illusion of separation. The true will in Tiphareth. It is a debased form of the will. and also explains how and why the Veil of Paroketh serves to veil the individual’s perception of itself as being part of the whole. and if this awareness occurs in Tiphareth then the ideas in the Tree start to become inconsistent. no individuality. Without this illusion. the centre of the Solar System. and thus would be unable to truly experience.
which by deﬁnition implies motion towards something we do not already have. although Venus contains the idea of balance and equilibrium. We experience hunger when we have a need to eat. which is precisely how we have deﬁned Netzach. these objectives. not their achievement. towards new experience. It is attributed to Venus. Although we have said that it is the achievement of the individual’s desires which drives him.” and its meaning indicates the achievement the individual’s objectives. Venus also represents harmony and balance. the nature of desire is to make the individual dynamic. some objective which serves to guide his conscious choices throughout his life. the active individual quality. and it is the creation of these tendencies which drives the individual. in that it is what drives the individual to motion. since it is the drive towards our objectives which motivates us. and we will ﬁnd there is nothing either motivating or fulﬁlling about merely having something. where he is. which is the idea most people have when they seek to fulﬁll their desires. in order that he may continue to be spurred on to action through the whole of his life. and it is to the desires that Netzach is most often attributed. a need to put fuel and nourishment into our bodies which is currently lacking. it is itself neither of these things. he must have some direction. towards growth. is the function of Netzach. then. it is the nature of the being that this achievement can never take place. Thus it is the nature of the individual to never be satisﬁed with what he has. This also explains why the chasing of desire is ultimately futile. since they all arise from the illusion of the sense of self. clearly the change sephirah of the individual triad. and it is indeed the disturbance from equilibrium which makes us want to return to it. some goal he is working towards. the individual must fully believe himself to be in control of his being. This notion of desire is therefore an illusory concept. Netzach means “victory. the attraction to something is the tendency to move towards it. the illusion of separation from the rest of the universe.17 In order to fully experience the wonders of the universe. then. If he is to be in such control. which relates to needs. equilibrium. Netzach is. to direct his actions. to provide him with a purpose for existence. The provision of this direction. Thus. The function of Netzach is to drive the individual. It reﬂects æsthetic preferences and the attraction we feel to things. It is this desire for achievement which drives the individual through his life. and if he ever achieves his objectives this direction would cease to be eﬀective. since its . when he does satisfy his desires they are simply replaced with new ones. which is completely opposite to allowing him to remain constant and content. as are all the concepts in the sephiroth below the Veil of Paroketh.
By so doing. The accumulation of experiences solidiﬁes into knowledge. We have seen that it is Netzach which provides the individual with his drive. with his motivation for action. It is the inﬂuence of the other lower sephiroth which disturb this balance. always presuming that it is not disturbed in the meantime. which is linked with knowledge and thought. this tendency to return to a position of balance and harmony. by forming pathways along which sensations can be sorted. Hod Hod is the passive individual quality. For this reason. like the swinging of a pendulum. which makes the motion in Netzach stabilizing. the swings becoming wider. the thoughts. but to the patterns in the mind which enable these associations and inferences to be made. the ability to reason. so that thereby he might learn something about his environment and about himself. The motion arising from Netzach is. in the current observed circumstances. of making associations between them. however. and it is thereby that he is able to make choices which. Stability in motion is a tendency for motion to stop. will lead him closer to the fulﬁllment of his desires. It is the mental faculty. or memory. but without a clear notion of how such fulﬁllment is to be achieved. Hod does not then refer to a simple accumulation of facts. the ability to . to return to balance. It is this desire for equilibrium inherent in Venus. whereby the individual knows — or thinks he knows — something of the nature of the world. so that he may make comparisons and discover new things.18 CHAPTER 1. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK existence depends on the lack of equilibrium. to lead to such-and-such a result. classiﬁed and discriminated. a stabilizing motion. he hopes. the individual has a conscious mind which is capable of consolidating and classifying the experiences he has. that action will be futile. It is the classiﬁcation and structuring of the individual’s perceptions and experiences. and provide the desire with new objectives. Hod is the stabilising sephirah of the individual triad. We have already seen that for true discrimination to take place — which is necessary for individual experience — we must have a reference point. An unstable motion will tend to move away from equilibrium over time. just as a pendulum will gradually reduce the extent of its swinging over time until it ﬁnally ceases. or knowledge. by imbuing it with a direction towards the objective which inﬂuences the swing closer to the victory of obtaining this balance. in order to pursue his desires. the accumulated knowledge he has will enable him to make inferences that such-and-such an action is likely.
Herein. Without this sort of information. The purpose of these pathways and patterns which allow classiﬁcation is to provide an ability to classify one’s experiences in order that useful inferences be made. The attribution is to Mercury. It is when the structure becomes excessively ﬁxed (e. .19 analyse and solve. our progress towards new experience. is also illusion and imperfection of form. The meaning of “splendour” is the wonder and miracle of this enormously complex and labyrinthine web of pathways and patterns which make all this possible. The purpose of the classiﬁcation of Hod is then to give the individual the ability to successful navigate his being towards the fulﬁllment of his desires. and heat induces ﬂame.g. not from some absolute and perfect source of knowledge. we may have a mass of data arising from a point-ofsale system in a supermarket. even normal. for instance. will be severely restricted. It is the same within the individual. and our progress through life. no more than convenient assumptions. we cannot draw conclusions and hence do not have the ability to eﬀectively manage. For instance. and appropriate inferences drawn which will allow the individual to successfully navigate his being. for such patterns to develop in a manner which leads to inappropriate conclusions being drawn. however. and to mental activity and dexterity. the development of a belief in god can lead to all sorts of fatuous and imbecilic notions which can permanently restrict growth. and the wonder that is felt from being able to perceive something of the working of things. whilst chocolate lampshades are not. to draw conclusions based on similarities to past experiences. however. Similarly. and such experiences are always incomplete. The patterns and pathways which are drawn therefrom must always therefore be tentative. Communication is the conveyance of information. friction induces heat. we will be unable to harness the power of ﬁre to our advantage. and information is the presentation of data into an order which allows some sort of meaning to be gleaned from them. For instance. without this grouping and sorting of individual pieces of data. it is not until we combine this data with those from other locations that we can see whether these facts are common or unique to this location. in the individual triad. This aspect connects with Mercury’s attribution to the trickster. to the ability to communicate. It is entirely possibly. but it is not until we group and sort that data by product that we can deduce that decaﬀeinated coﬀee is selling strongly. These patterns are formed on the basis of experience. to the magician in his aspect as an illusionist and a master of misdirection. until we are able to learn that.
instincts. habits. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK in the example above where a belief in a god can become ﬁxed and ingrained) that problems arise. pursue wonder. it is from this internal universe that the inner pictures and other senses arise. and because his knowledge in Hod arises from his experiences on the earth (rather than coming down as a knowledge of the universe). “rehearses” mentally.” that the individual creates for himself. and can be seen to be the “conscious” self. and so on. and he thus perceives that the suﬀering is happening to him. which is then reinforced and altered by the inﬂuences of Netzach and Hod. or “astral universe. The attribution is to the Moon. seek comfort and warmth. and the unconscious mind. Yesod Yesod is the combination of knowledge and desire. The reﬂection is also the internal universe. . whereas really it is only perceived by his experiential vehicle. This has been linked with the subconscious mind. It is the information from this internal universe that form the most part of the inputs towards the processing faculty of Hod. and what the man experiences is all good new experience. wherein a man knows that he wishes to refrain from painful experiences. Hence we can see that 7 See The Method of Love. The structure of Hod must be constantly updated. challenged. or reviews memories. and refreshed if it is to remain vital and relevant. The man thinks he is suﬀering because he mistakes this debased version of self in Yesod for his true self. It is also the personality. as opposed to the “true” self in Tiphareth. one path away from Tiphareth. of course. has the potential to move further and further away from his “true” will. and he only has the impulses of Netzach for guidance. it is here in Yesod that the individual qualities inherent to Tiphareth are reﬂected to form the personality. there is no suﬀering. With his knowledge crystallized in Hod. the reﬂection of the “soul”. From the universal perspective. and his desires originating in Netzach.20 CHAPTER 1. When one daydreams. when the structure is cut-oﬀ from the rest of the sephiroth and denied of rejuvenating inﬂuence. which reﬂects both his understanding of it and his attitudes towards it. he is able to make decisions based on his knowledge as to how he can further his desires. The desires from Netzach and the associations in Hod work together to form this universe in Yesod. the individual. this conscious self. this individual will.7 Here is the origination of sorrow and suﬀering. This is a debased form of self-awareness. Being in the middle pillar. Since his true will is veiled to him. so that the individual has an internal representation of the universe he lives in.
if the internal universe is markedly diﬀerent from the “real” one in important aspects. In this way we can see both how “faults” in the mental faculty can result in an inaccurate internal universe. One of the functions of Hod is to draw conclusions about the nature of things. the input from the senses have an important inﬂuence on the internal universe. reinforcing the error and miring the individual even deeper in the pool of illusion. and the physical sensations and images which are presented to the infant form an important part of the development of his internal universe. In confusing what is with what is desired.” which is the reverse of what should occur. The simple act of living in a human body with the human senses is responsible for the way a good deal of it is formed. before. We can expect the images that arise in the mind of one who has been blind from birth to deviate quite substantially from images that the rest of us would recognise. Other parts of the internal universe are shaped through the mental faculties of Hod. The phenomenon of denial arises as a result of Netzach’s inﬂuence on the internal universe in Yesod. Naturally. and most of us will be familiar with vague images or sensations which have been with us all our lives. there is an inﬂuence on the internal universe from outside the realm of the individual triad and from the environment. The desires arising in Netzach also have an inﬂuence here. and in his spiteful sophistry he creates a universe for himself where his transgressors are punished horribly for all eternity. Much of what drives an individual is aﬀected by these early sensations. or naturally. and whilst somewhat intangible seem to inﬂuence us in many ways. or their like. inappropriate conclusions can still be drawn if the inputs are faulty. the man “creates the universe in his own image. about the nature of the universe. Finally. A good example would be the individual who believes in a personal hell because he simply refuses to accept that individuals who have “harmed” him should escape punishment. as the classifying faculty is not well developed. This inﬂuence reﬂects what he ac- . and how inaccuracies existing in the internal universe can be fed up into Hod and then channelled back. which of course includes himself. and those conclusions are fed back into Yesod to form part of the individual’s overall conception of the environment in which he lives. The pictures inside the individual’s head arise in the form they do primarily because he has seen them. When very young.21 even with perfectly functioning processing. Some of the internal universe is formed inherently. and that inﬂuence comes from Tiphareth. physical sensations are the most important formative part. the eﬀects lasting long into adulthood. with his own eyes.
The “Great Work” essentially consists of restoring these links. Each of these three concepts is internal to the individual. and a consciousness with which to consolidate . Hod is thought. If we were to here examine the question of attainment. the three sephiroth of the actual triad represent the act of creation. Thus. the reﬂection of will. Geburah is will. the reﬂection of structure. Again. so Netzach is desire. which will allow him to balance his conscious self and apprehend his true function in the scheme of the universe. and the three sephiroth of the individual triad represent the functioning of the individual in his capacity as a being aware of both himself and his environment. and with this in mind we can clearly see the source of the problems faced by people in their lives. The individual triad provides man with desires to experience. since we are below the Abyss. below the Veil of Paroketh. leading to the individual living the vast bulk of his life within himself. Chesed is structure. in terms of his motivation. All three of these things are necessary for a functioning individual. then. the individual triad has a downward pointing apex. but in the individual triad. his decisionmaking. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK tually is. the “boiling pot” of the personality. cut oﬀ both from the external reality and from his own source. The vast bulk of the day to day functioning of the individual is concerned with these three concepts. The Physical World Malkuth There is one more step to be taken. the reﬂection of the self. or what his environment tells him that he is. we would see that a good portion of the task of “purifying” the internal universe comes down to attenuating this inﬂuence. Yesod is. This is the “chance of union” on the individual level. rather than what he thinks himself to be. and his ideas of both himself and of the universe. everything is mere reﬂection. what he would like to be. Yesod is the subconscious. and Tiphareth is the true self. and the result can be a perpetual ﬂow of information along the three paths joining them.22 CHAPTER 1. with intellect and knowledge to classify those experiences. we saw that the supernal sephiroth represent the idea of creation. the centre of the lower self. Herein all is illusion. showing that desire and intellect are combined to form awareness.
we would be in the same situation. We have already seen the inﬂuence Malkuth has on the formation of the internal universe. We have already said that the actual triad itself gives rise to the necessity of the individual triad. as the creation of the individual triad fails to have any sensible meaning without the addition of actual experience.” h´. is the male impulse. is of applicability here.” yod. and would take the same action. The ﬁrst “H. There is a further connection here with Malkuth. In tradition. we are concerned only with our experience of what we call reality. and for our purposes we don’t care to try and do so. the father. Also. We are not concerned with the nature of reality in Malkuth. and how the necessity of Malkuth is implied by this.23 his journey through experience. we are not able to distinguish between a “real” reality and a convincing illusion along these lines. and thus we may consider the lower seven sephiroth to be the h´ ﬁnal of e . it is the experience of the taste of strawberries. We may therefore take a fourfold perspective and consider the individual triad and Malkuth as a unit. “I. clearly. and we may therefore consider the h´ ﬁnal of the “actual Tetragrammaton” to e be the individual triad plus Malkuth. Malkuth is often considered to be the material world itself. Netzach is clearly the active. The formula of Tetragrammaton. e essentially the energy released by the union of the mother and the father. the “side-eﬀect” of that union. We can continue this further. We have seen how these combine into Yesod to form the son. female principle. is the son. is the female impulse. if in fact we were the stereotypical “brain in a vat” and the entire universe was merely a series of created ﬁctitious sensations for us. As Bishop Berkeley has shown us. The physical existence of the universe need not concern us. In terms of the lower four sephiroth. the ideal existence in the supernals must necessarily give rise to actual existence. therefore. rather than strawberries themselves or even the taste itself (although we can easily enough argue that without experience. the mother. Further Considerations The Structure of the Tree Our initial analysis complete. male principle. but it has not actually given him anything to experience. and Hod the passive. but in this sense Malkuth is the experience of the world. The “V. taste is a meaningless concept). e the conjunction of the mother and father. The ﬁnal h´ is the daughter.. IHVH.” vau. This is Malkuth. or the body. we may continue to perceive the patterns in the Tree.
and that fact that 2 = 2 + 2 = 2 × 2 = 22 illustrates the structural qualities of this number. Finally. constructed form. each with the rest of the Tree as a “pendant”.24 CHAPTER 1. Seven is also prime. the combination of motion and form. suggesting motion and a lack of form. shape. artiﬁcial form. twofold. the threefold negative veils represent potential. the stabilization of the triad. form in motion. a stability or form sephirah. and potential has no meaning without actual. Four represents the square. Each triad contains a change or motion sephirah. The individual triad shows how individual motion and individual form combine to form self-awareness. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK the “archetypal tetragrammaton”. and in the remaining two triads represent their resolution. the idea of creation. threefold and fourfold formulæ. We can thus see how the Tree seamlessly combines the threefold formula of the triad with the fourfold formula of Tetragrammaton. so the Tree in its entirety can be considered the h´ ﬁnal of the union of e the “negative father” and the “negative mother. Five is 3 + 2. being the negative veils and the three triads. which in the archetypal triad represents their source.” which combine to produce the “negative son”. direction. are not crucial to our ideas however. and the internal universe. Thus. and a third sephirah. The aphorism “change is stability and stability is change” illustrates the twofold formula of complements. movement. Six is 2 × 3 and also 1 + 2 + 3. the Tree embodies both the single. and also 22 + 1. form. The basic structure of the Tree proper (excluding the veils) are the three triads. two represents the line. again opposed to form and structure. or 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10. Number The numbers attributed to the sephiroth provide further support for this framework. movement away from the restriction and enclosure of the four. a very heavily structural number. we have four threefold arrangements on the Tree. whereas 8 = 2 × 2 × 2 = 23 = 4 + 4 = 4 × 2. and the creation of existence illustrates the single formula of creation. enclosure. and are inherent in. Reinforcing this. whilst three represents the triangle. whilst being both satisfying and pretty. Nine is 3+3+3 = 3×3 = 32 . the combination of . and we may consider it interesting to note that the number of sephiroth is ten. As we have already described. These considerations. whilst the actual triad shows how actual motion and actual form combine to form the actual individual. It is also prime. The archetypal triad shows how the ideas of motion and force arise from.
at the pinnacle of the Tree. quiet form. For Hod we have the “Deceivers. According to Crowley’s 777. the Qliphoth of Kether are the “dual contending forces. the end result of manifestation. the Qliphoth of Malkuth is the “Evil Woman. its vice of cruelty and restriction representing the .” the illusionists. For Binah we have silence as a virtue. obscenity implying (in the old æon. to the Abrahamic religions. The Qliphoth The Qliphoth. For Binah there are the “Concealers” which hide and distort form. desire cut oﬀ from the will in Tiphareth. Finally. Vices and Virtues The “vices” and “virtues” associated with the sephiroth are also instructive. Chesed’s virtue is obedience. and there is no vice due to the “perfection” of unity. the summation of the four elements of the tetragrammaton.” destroyers of form. Finally ten is 1+2+3+4. The Qlipoth of Chesed are the “Breakers in Pieces. Geburah has the “Burners.” clearly opposed to the unity of the one.” dispersion being force with no unifying direction.” who destroy through unrestrained force. more degraded level. non-movement. The virtue of Kether. the movement into the actual world which was considered by the monotheists to be imperfect when placed against the perfection of the one god. at least) the animal being cut oﬀ from its divine source. the excessive acquisition and collection of things — as the vice. we have the “hinderers. The virtue of Geburah is naturally energy and courage.” hindrance being an opposition to force. to the temporal law inherent in the idea. whilst its vice is bigotry and hypocrisy. The Qlipoth of Netzach are the “Dispersing Ravens. or “shells” associated with the sephiroth also support this framework. the perversion and ﬁxation of form.” the opponents of harmony. Chokmah is often not ascribed a vice. completion of the Great Work.25 motion and form in an individual. The virtue of Chokmah is devotion to the Great Work. physical baseness devoid of spirit. the motion sephirah of the archetypal triad. is naturally attainment. the creaters of misleading form. the dedicated and single-minded movement towards its completion. referring to the appearance of duality. The shells of Tiphareth are the “Disputers. For Chokmah. Yesod has the “Obscene Ones” who distort and corrupt the internal universe.” woman naturally representing the corruption of the ﬂesh. with avarice or greed — the over-structuring. but when it is that vice is evil.
accurate perception of the physical world. representing respectively the accurate and inaccurate structuring of impressions and experiences. • Two. We can summarize this in table 1. Summary We have seen that it is both possible and instructive to derive the Tree of Life through a regular and systematic application and combination of the ideas of: • One. rising straight upwards. the complete act of creation. the process. has devotion as its virtue. the virtue of Malkuth is discrimination. whereas its virtue is falsehold and dishonesty. Its vice is pride and selﬁshness. The virtue of Hod is truthfulness and honesty. its virtue of “unselﬁshness” representing the idea of individual direction being inﬂuenced from the true self in Tiphareth. motion and form. and connected to. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK “negative” aspect of force. appearing as it does in the middle pillar directly under. Tiphareth. • Three. and indulgence in physical comfort and pleasure. and the act of creation or resolution resulting in a fourth idea. and the vice is inertia and avarice. and combination of two elements to produce a third. the pairs of change and stability either arising from or resulting in the third. like Chokmah. representing the individual in balance. Kether.26 CHAPTER 1.1. indulgence in individuality. rather than from the shell “self” in the individual triad. a wallowing in the internal universe. the interplay of change and stability. creation. whereas the vice is idleness and stagnation. Yesod has independence as its virtue. the three triads of the tree (and the three negative veils). and • Four. The vice of Netzach is naturally lust. . beginning–middle–end. which is also entirely consistent — and illustrative — of the account of creation presented in The Book of the Law. a wilful cutting-oﬀ of the self from the source. the two sides of the bases of each of the three triads. the progression from the production of the son and its side-eﬀects. logical and satisfying pattern agrees so nicely with the traditional symbolism is an indicator of the ﬁtness of this framework. The fact that this simple. These four ideas echo themselves all the way down the Tree. Finally. being the ideal lower self removed from slavish servitude to the thoughts and desires.
Many. 8 “Primary” . or “formative world” to air. The ﬁrst is to represent them on a single Tree. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Sephirah Kether Chokmah Binah Chesed Geburah Tiphareth Netzach Hod Yesod Malkuth Plane Archetypal Archetypal Archetypal Actual Actual Actual Individual Individual Individual Physical Function Source Motion / change Form / stability Form / stability Motion / change Resolution Motion / change Form / stability Resolution Pendant Table 1. at least.” is attributed to the element of ﬁre. or “creative world” to water. which we will now proceed to do. and is the method most applicable to studying the Tarot. There are two primary8 ways of representing these worlds. Yetzirah encompassing Chesed through Yesod. or “archetypal world. Briah encompassing Binah. many other ways have been proposed. or “material world” to earth. This would result in four sets of ten sephiroth. The Tree of Life is traditionally associated with four “worlds. and Assiah encompassing Malkuth. corresponding to the four sets of ten cards of the minor arcana. Briah. according to the Golden Dawn. Yetzirah. The second is to give each world its own complete Tree.” each one corresponding to one of the four elements.1: Structure of the sephiroth It is against this framework that we will analyse the small cards of the Tarot. Atziluth encompassing Kether and Chokmah.27 No. Atziluth. and Assiah.
28 CHAPTER 1. A QABALISTIC FRAMEWORK .
the releasing and freeing of fuel — it is the “prime mover” that makes physical change possible. attributable means thatsource forfewthefour elements. the energy that makes all life on this planet possible. It represents the transformation of latent energy into work (such as in the process of combustion). the nomenclature is appropriate. The element of ﬁre is primarily associated with motion. Motion only has meaning when compared to a particular reference point or points. It has the power of penetration. They provide the root or the but the singularity of the root nothing of nature of the elements themselves will be visible until the Twos. Water and earth comprise the two passive elements. energy and will.1: Correspondences of the Ace of Wands to Kether. acteristics. for reasons 29 . As physical ﬁre is obviously more than capable of destroying form. it is one of the two active elements. For this reason. have discernible charThe Aces.Chapter 2 Wands Ace of Wands Name Sephirah Position on tree The Root of the Powers of Fire Kether Source sephirah of archetypal triad Table 2. and the ability to reﬁne. Fire also represents the Sun. in particular the warmth and light that the Sun radiates. the other being air. and is therefore a modiﬁcation to — or destruction of — form.
the similarities in appearance being obvious. since they deﬁne their own form. the suit of clubs. Interestingly. and as we progress down the Tree of Life this suit will show the progression of the concepts of motion. the suit of Wands2 is attributed to ﬁre. Generally. to which the above rationale applies very nicely.” For dryness: Aristotle explains that Moistness is the quality of ﬂuidity or ﬂexibility. and replaced with the natural one given here. Another method of classifying the elements — and one adopted by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn — is by temperature and dryness. since diamonds are precious stones found underground. As a consequence Moist things tend to be volatile and expansive. the black cards correspond to the active elements. The active elements are described as “hot. The third “Knowledge Lecture” of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn inexplicably attributed diamonds to ﬁre.” for the reasons described above. it is not the rigidity of ﬁre which enables it to resist the imposition of form. since it resists the imposition of form. far from what the above quotation suggests. and also represent material wealth. 2 Or.30 CHAPTER 2. the other black suit — spades — corresponding to the element of air and the suit of Swords. since they can ﬁll spaces in their surroundings. This spurious assignment may be safely disregarded. whereas Dryness is the quality of rigidity. the other dry element. whereas Dry things are ﬁxed and structured. Ancient Greek Doctrine of the Elements in a regular playing deck. which allows a thing to deﬁne its own shape and bounds.1 The element of ﬁre is given the quality of dryness. For the purpose of the small cards of the Tarot. WANDS which will become clear as we progress. power and will from conception through to physical manifestation in the individual. and clubs to earth. which allows a thing to adapt to its external conditions. 1 The . The red cards are attributed to the passive elements. the suit of hearts naturally corresponding with water and the suit of Cups. whilst the passive elements are described as “cold. but its insubstantiality. This can be taken in comparison to the element of earth. and its unstable and destructive power. and diamonds being attributed to Disks and the element of earth. both of them being bladed implements.
unassuaged of purpose. the Two of Wands signiﬁes the accomplishment of objectives through Since Chokmah is the change sephirah of the archetypal triad. delivered from the lust of result. There is. which is to forcibly cause change through extension of the Will. it signiﬁes the ideal motion of the element of ﬁre. in fact. and combined with the rulership of Mars which is the natural ruler of Aries. it is also cut oﬀ from other considerations. 44 . Asrepresentingextensionnature ofthe Root of theforce: dominion. as the ﬁrst emanation from the Root. and there is a suggestion of the inevitability of motion and the lack of “free will. no way for it to fulﬁll any purpose.31 Two of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Dominion The Lord of Dominion Chokmah Change sephirah of archetypal triad Ascendant of Aries Mars Table 2. but such contradictions present no problems above the Abyss. the will of the Two of Wands cannot be said to have any purpose beyond acting unconsciously according to its nature. this leads to an extremely energetic and forceful card. In its ascendant decan. since it is aware of nothing else which it can aﬀect. Aries is newly formed. the ideal the element.2: Correspondences of the Two of Wands the first from Powers of Fire. it has not yet come into contact with others. 3 AL I.”3 will that has not been contaminated by any other considerations and exists solely to fulﬁll its own nature. free of inﬂuence from the other ﬁre signs. Accordingly. there are no negative connotations of the element of ﬁre (such as erraticism and foolhardiness) here.” Therefore although the Two is free from the contamination of other sources. and exists alone. representing “pure will. Being an ideal above the Abyss.
The function of Leo on the pure energy of Aries is here equivalent to the stabilising function of Binah on the will of Chokmah. and given a direction. so a movement into the actual can now proceed. only be judged according to the nature of that character. However. . and the ruler of this decan — the Sun — is also the natural ruler of that sign. however. the Bﬁre. and nothing can yet be actually accomplished. so the virtue of the Three remains an unmanifest ideal.” which is the foundation of virtue. The Three of Wands represents the “true will” insofar as it signiﬁes the idea of a “proper” and “natural” course. there is no suggestion of morality with reference to an external code. The motion has been formed into character. WANDS Three of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Virtue The Lord of Established Strength Binah Stability sephirah of archetypal triad Succedent of Aries The Sun Table 2.3: Correspondences of the Three of Wands inah being the stability sephirah the archetypal triad. of course. reinforcing this inﬂuence. It is still above the Abyss. “Right” and “wrong” in this sense can. and a distinction can now be made between “right motion” and “wrong motion. the ideas of energy and of the harnessing of energy into direction are both present. and balance.32 CHAPTER 2. the Sun representing the “centre of gravity” around which the other elements of the personality revolve. This signiﬁcant solar inﬂuence gives weight to the idea of character. individuality. The form of Binah gives rise to the possibility of discrimination and choice. Theofpurposeless motionthe the Twoofhas been harnessed into Three Wands represents ideal manifestation of the element of of form. relieving the inevitability of the Two. In its succedent decan — representing the establishment and harmony of the sign — Aries is inﬂuenced by Leo. here.
In its cadent decan. the perfection of the ideals is lost as the element descends into manifestation. the establishment of order in conformity with will contains within itself the idea of the breakdown of that order. signiﬁes a need for growth and expansion — inﬂuences this decan. ideally. as the ﬁrst progression over the Abyss. and Chesed is the stability sephirah of the actual triad. In the case of the Four of Wands. 4 The Book of Thoth . Being below the Abyss. Further. Sagittarius — which. as well as the necessity for “tact and gentleness”4 in building and maintaining a stable and ordered empire. amongst other things. the bringing of more and more elements under the control of the will. This idea of expansion — which. the energy of Aries is dissipating.4: Correspondences of the Four of Wands of the element of can now Withofthe crossingcompletionAbyss. all the Fours contain within themselves the seeds of their ultimate demise. and constant energy is required for its maintenance. as it is being “used up” in the accomplishment of objectives. and the idea of completion suggests the expansion of empire.” the order of the Four must be enforced. the completion tasks.33 Four of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Completion The Lord of Perfected Work Chesed Stability sephirah of actual triad Cadent of Aries Venus Table 2. should be symmetrical — is also suggested by the planetary ruler. representing balance and harmony. The Four of Wands represents the imposition of order through force. Unlike the form of the Three. thetheofordering ﬁrethe envifulﬁll its function: the accomplishment objectives. This suggests of ronment according to will. which is “natural. Venus.
and the joy of dissolution all. the individuality of Leo is new.”6 In its ascendant decan. and demands expression. “for all that. and the order of the Four can become stiﬂing.Thisprogress —attributed librium — established the can only in one way. There is a suggestion of rebelliousness against the accepted order. here. all is imperfection below the Abyss. In either case. a disturbance is a disturbance. that must be disturbed if to change. Moreover. Conversely. disorder will inevitably increase. It is true that the nature of the order will change from the plan of the Four. Indeed. This card is an illustration of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. the idea that the entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time. it is the nature of will to move. leading directly to the strife which prevents the establishment of the ideal order. for this sole purpose. the inﬂuence of Saturn refers to 5 AL 6 The I. and the rule of the Four will be broken. As the constant energy which is required for the maintainance of order in the Four weakens. It is the strife of the Five that adds energy to the system to combat entropy.34 CHAPTER 2. that the pain of division is as nothing. that keeps it from remaining isolated. WANDS Five of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Strife The Lord of Strife Geburah Change sephirah of actual triad Ascendant of Leo Saturn Table 2. to Geburah. which could be the source of the strife.5: Correspondences of the Five of Wands we the Tree the order the equiAsordercontinue down in it is Four of Life. is strife. as the Second Law of Thermodynamics states. 30 Book of Thoth . but “This is the creation of the world. the entropy of an isolated system will tend to increase over time. Actual motion from an ordered state can only lessen that order.”5 Yet. the change sephirah of the actual triad. This strife should not be viewed as necessarily “negative”. after all. the “uncontaminated” energy of Leo in its ﬁrst decan could suggest an overly idealistic nature and a disconnect with reality.
especially in the area of discoupling youth from its idealistic aspirations. and the impossibility of maintaining imposed order indeﬁnitely. . Saturn is a hard teacher.35 the heavy inevitability of physics.
22 . not a permanent resting place. by forming a downward pointing triangle — much as water inevitably ﬂows downwards through a channel — it is the stability and change sephiroth of the actual triad — Chesed and Geburah — that are resolved in Tiphareth. always to change.6: Correspondences of the Six of Wands the Six. Change is stability. but no attachment to any particular form of order. for thereby there cometh hurt. and working with it. WANDS Six of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Victory The Lord of Victory Tiphareth Resolution sephirah of actual triad Succedent of Leo Jupiter Table 2. but then the will moves on. recognising that its nature is always to act. 8 AL I. successfully inducing it to accept the transitory nature of order which vastly improves its chances of mastering it: “Bind nothing! Let there be no diﬀerence made among you between any one thing & any other thing. A dynamic equilibrium is achieved. but does not seek to maintain the same order all the time. idealistic tical ones. of the Four and the strife the InFive achievethe imposed orderaspirations are replaced withofpracresolution. The tendency towards expansion inherent in Sagittarius — which inﬂuences this decan — tempers Leo’s stubborn pride. The individuality of Leo is at its full strength in its succedent decan. and this drive for expansion (reinforced by the rulership of Jupiter. Will succeeds in maintaining order. The Six of Wands signiﬁes a full acquiescence in the idea that “Stability is change. and completion is achieved. understanding itself and its place in the universe and acquiescing fully in that nature. A task is accomplished. where there is order. there has been a victory. but that victory forms a base for further action. rather than against it. 7 Ibid. the natural ruler of Sagittarius and itself indicative of ordered benevolent rule and expansion) overcomes the attachment of Leo to any ﬁxed ideas of its own self.”8 The strife of the Five can be “overcome” by simply accepting it.”7 Indeed.36 CHAPTER 2.
and its ultimate nature on the actual plane.37 In successfully maintaining this dynamic equilibrium. and the Six of Wands represents the best manifestation of the element of ﬁre. . will is able to achieve its transitory ends and win its victories.
38 CHAPTER 2. WANDS Seven of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Valour The Lord of Valour Netzach Change sephirah of individual triad Cadent of Leo Mars Table 2. into individual triad. descent Wvalour thecrossing of thetheanelement of in theand the further. If the individual will is aligned with the “universal will” then victory will be attained. for all that.7: Correspondences of the Seven of Wands ith the Veil of Paroketh. and to proceed into the unknown requires bravery. the individuality and conﬁdence of Leo is dissipating. the individual requires courage and drive to proceed with any plan. The eﬀect of the Mars–Aries combination in Leo is to ferment ambition. . and the defects inherent in the element of ﬁre are here painfully visible. the purpose of the element of ﬁre in the change sephirah is to motivate and drive the individual. Yet. but being cut oﬀ from Tiphareth by the Veil of Paroketh the “universal will” is concealed from the individual. and the energy from the inﬂuence of Aries is suggestive of a “ﬁnal big push” towards his goal. and there is a real risk of the individual’s eﬀorts. and it is in the Seven that this courage lies. On the individual plane. but untempered ambition is usually blind. however valiant. being misdirected. Cut oﬀ from his true nature. and success is not assured. the individual is faced with uncertainty. In the cadent decan. to spur him to courage in the face of adversity. The inﬂuence of Mars — the natural ruler of Aries — does not contain the expansional and balancing qualities of Sagittarius and Jupiter. the individual may well be ﬁghting a losing battle if this ambition represents the greater part of his resources. ﬁre degrades The of the Seven suggests attempt face of signiﬁcant diﬃculties to achieve the victory of the Six.
As great a power source as is desired may be attached to a copper wire. but the Eight provides the structuring mechanism itself. the irony of removing restrictions by creating constraints. while there is no possibility of perfection in the cards of this number. Crowley says of the Eights that they “come as (in a sense) a remedy for the error of the Sevens. The Eight is the partner of the Three on the individual plane. By optimising that structure to the circumstances and the desired ends.8: Correspondences of the Eight of Wands is referred The Eight of Wands triad. the Three contained the promise of virtue. but a deﬁnition.oftheofstability sephirah of the individual valour the Seven was somewhat “blind. they are free from such essential and original errors as in the Lower case.” the structuring capabilities Hod enable something to be done about that. The mischief has been done. and no work will be done. This is not a “restriction” in the sense of AL I. 41. and there is now a reaction against it. One may. it must be directed. Furthermore. The tendency towards expansion inherent in Sagittarius 9 The Book of Thoth .39 Eight of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Swiftness The Lord of Swiftness Hod Stability sephirah of individual triad Ascendant of Sagittarius Mercury Table 2. The ascendant decan of Sagittarius is “uncontaminated” by the other signs. Blind energy is not suﬃcient. the power is likely to be diverted to a catastrophic and unintended end if the wire is not insulated and the charge contained. but in the absence of a well-formed circuit current will not ﬂow. the energy is beginning to decline.”9 An analogy can be made between the Eight of Wands and an electrical circuit. The individual triad is setting up the manifestation of the element of ﬁre. energy can be made to ﬂow in an eﬃcient and single-minded manner: there will be swiftness. WhereastotheHod. which will appear in the Ten. expect to ﬁnd that. therefore. As the mutable sign of the element of ﬁre. the error of the uncontrolled force in the Seven being learned.
10 AL II. invoking Because. cut oﬀ from the actual triad by the Veil of Paroketh. and the structuring of the will. there will always be an element of ineﬃciency. but if the will — consciously or unconsciously — is misdirected due to the “helpfulness” of the mind. If Power asks why.”10 The structuring tendency must be kept ﬁrmly in its place if misfortune is to be avoided. let alone from the archetypal triad by the Abyss. and paradoxically lead to a lack of the very direction it was created to provide. which will be the primary structuring instrument. can stiﬂe it. then is Power weakness. and this far down the tree the structuring of Hod can be misdirected as often as properly directed. so that the will may be harnessed towards progress. this far down the Tree. WANDS tempers this energy and channels and structures it. then those plans will be a positive impediment: “If Will stops and cries Why. The rulership of Mercury brings an element of trickery and falsehood.40 CHAPTER 2. 30–31 . unchecked. That being said. Plans can be made. It also signiﬁes the ﬁckle nature of the mind. then Will stops & does nought.
which is naturally attributed to Yesod. resulting in strength. Properly applied. that change is stability. signiﬁes the purely reﬂective nature of the inﬂuence of Hod on the force of Netzach. the mind accurately interpreting and channeling the will rather than thwarting it by imposing its own favourite structures. The rulership of the Moon. It is this reﬂective nature. Book of Thoth . Sagittarius is at the height of its strength in its succedent decan.”11 Of the Nine of Wands in particular he says “of all the important doctrines concerning equilibrium. by harnessing motion into form. to provide him with the strength and the energy to accomplish his objectives. but in its most material sense. and the Nine represents its successful expansion into the environment. the Nine theWands harmonises the force the with the structure of Eight. attributed to the Six of Wands. that is. it would go to pieces. that enables the individual to discover and harness the will. the next highest sephirah on the middle pillar.41 Nine of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Strength The Lord of Great Strength Yesod Resolution seph. this is the easiest to understand. that stability is guaranteed by change. The inﬂuence of Aries on this decan adds force to that expansion. of individual triad Succedent of Sagittarius The Moon Table 2. this strength will result in victory. and he obtains this strength by properly structuring force. of the idea of the force. The rulership of the Moon in its natural sephirah frees it from the illusory connotations that it often 11 The 12 Ibid.”12 The purpose of will on the individual plane is to drive the individual.9: Correspondences of the Nine of Wands middle of Returning toofthe Seventhe pillar. Crowley said of Nines that they give “the full impact of the elemental force. whatever they may be. the extension of force outwards from its centre which it will use to bring its environment under control. that if anything should stop changing for the fraction of a split second. this clearing the mind of restrictive structure.
rather than from a deﬁcit of force: “a Man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him. allowing for the uncontaminated transmission of the will. and renders it a perfect mirror. a lack of strength more usually results from a misapplication of force due to a misunderstanding of will.”13 The Nine represents the perfect operation of the element of ﬁre in the individual plane. 13 Magick in Theory and Practice . channelling the right kind of energy in the right way. WANDS carries.42 CHAPTER 2. The ideal strength of the Nine arises when the structure imposed by Hod is perfectly suited to the energy of the Seven.
10: Correspondences of the Ten of Wands represent the complete manifestation of The Tens abovetothe Abyss the of thecanphysical no imperfection. The Twos were also isolated. for Saturn represents physical inevitability. superﬁciality and lack of direction — begins to fade. 14 The Book of Thoth .14 the result is oppression. The inﬂuence of the individuality of Leo on this decan illustrates the stubbornness (also a quality of Saturn) of the ego in refusing to heed the will. pounding weight of oppression. In its cadent decan. the exclusion others. This is not the power of will. force. the ultimate manifestation of denial. ﬁckleness. and nothing else but force all the time”. and the insubstantiality which has always been bubbling below the surface can no longer be kept in check. Force.43 Ten of Wands Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Oppression The Lord of Oppression Malkuth Physical plane Cadent of Sagittarius Saturn Table 2. a absolute ﬁxation on self-image to the exclusion and detriment of the actual self. will be eternal. the individual essence. no longer given the breath of life from the will. without the aid of the other elements. the element. a vicious circle of distraction. The rulership of Saturn emphasises this dull. the elements are exhausted. Sagittarius — whose expansional tendencies always carry the risk of idealism. at the bottom of the Tree. but the power of the individual to resist it. and devoid of further progression. to steadfastly refuse to listen to his own nature and engage in a continual ﬁght against it which he has no hope of winning. but ideal contain here. The Ten of Wands illustrates the results of applying “force. the Khabs. an oppressive standoﬀ which. becomes re-entrant.
44 CHAPTER 2. WANDS .
and to human relationships and aﬀections. the ideas of union and attraction render the element of water inextricably connected with the concept of form. but are complementary.1: Correspondences of the Ace of Cups represent the element of water. relationships and structure in general. Thus. Water is a passive element. from the perspective of our Qabalistic framework. and must exist together. and water represents stability. or form. It is also connected — through the amniotic ﬂuid — with the womb. associated with love. and still water functions as a mirror.1 motion and form cannot exist in isolation. which nurtures and protects the fœtus. 45 . terms signiﬁes As such. ﬁre represents change. further emphasising its connection with the notion of form. it changes its shape to ﬁt any container in which it is placed. on a high level. More importantly. or motion. 1 See page 9. allowing it to grow and giving it form.Chapter 3 Cups Ace of Cups Name Sephirah Position on tree The Root of the Powers of Water Kether Source sephirah of archetypal triad Table 3. it of attraction. which is primarily Cups involves notions which in Thelemicnaturally relatesunion. Naturally. as we have already discussed.
In its associations with will. air and earth being the secondary elements which derive from ﬁre and water. CUPS The concept of attraction may correspond best with notions of form. respectively. the idea of attraction is meaningless. the two things can never actually come together. thunderstorms. Nevertheless. snow. ice. hail etc.46 CHAPTER 3. babbling brooks. waterfalls. water represents the attractive force in the individual.2 The fact that water in nature comes in many forms (stagnant pools. on page 10 we suggested that all of existence can be ultimately reduced to ideas of change and stability. in its associations with love. that which makes him seek a change in the current order. 2 See page 30.) shows the distinction between itself and the inertness of earth. ﬁre and water are traditionally associated with the father and the mother. whilst the two are inseparable. calm seas. Conversely. As ﬁre was associated with the Sun. In Aristotle’s scheme. it is instructive to consider ﬁre in relation to motion. Without the ability to come together. ﬁre represents the repulsive or “departing” force in the individual. . In the small cards. so does the suit of Cups show the progression of love. whilst air and earth are associated with the son and the daughter. that which makes him seek order. These are the two primary elements. rain showers. attraction and desire. which makes him assert his own individuality on the environment. the other passive element. its power of attraction. Furthermore. as the suit of Wands showed the progression of will and power from conception to manifestation. due to the ease with which its form can be changed. raging oceans. balance and harmony. Fire represents the tendency to go. but which is a “dry” element due to its ﬁxity. or more accurately. further cementing the distinction between the primary and secondary elements. whereas water represents those things in whose direction he is going. rushing rivers. the conditions within himself which makes him seek such things. but without motion. water is — naturally — a “moist” element. so is water in its reﬂective capacity associated with the Moon. and water to form. clouds. which reﬂects the Sun’s light (which is itself a further illustration of the diﬀerence between the active and passive natures of ﬁre and water) and causes the tides through the force of its gravity.
Two of Cups
Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Love The Lord of Love Chokmah Change sephirah of archetypal triad Ascendant of Cancer Venus
Table 3.2: Correspondences of the Two of Cups the Two of ideal manifestation of the Aselement of ﬁre, Wandsissignified the the ideal manifestationthe which dominion, the imposition of will on environment, so the Two of Cups signiﬁes of the element of water, love, the attractive force which motivates that will. It is love which gives will a direction, a purpose and an end, and as we have already stated the two are fundamentally inseperable; will is guided and motivated by love, and love is satisﬁed by will. As the Two of Wands was the “blueprint” for the individual’s faculty of movement and expression of individuality, so is the Two of Cups the blueprint for the individual’s faculty of attraction and dissolution of that individuality in the objects of his love. The sign of Cancer3 is associated with strong emotions and attachments, especially to the home and family. There can be a tendency towards possessiveness, vulnerability and emotional smothering, but in the ascendant decan (and above the Abyss) these negative qualities are not yet in evidence. The love of the ﬁrst decan is selﬂess and pure, representing a genuine attraction towards the true objects of will. The rulership of Venus is natural, representing as it does attraction, inner values, and the need for both inner and outer harmony. In the horoscope, Venus is said to determine the comparisons and judgments we make, and to colour our values and æsthetic preferences, and in our framework it is the fundamental tendencies of attraction, unique to each individual, which will fulﬁll this purpose.
is ruled by the Moon; see the comments under the Ace.
CHAPTER 3. CUPS
Three of Cups
Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Abundance The Lord of Abundance Binah Stability sephirah of archetypal triad Succedent of Cancer Mercury
Table 3.3: Correspondences of the Three of Cups
Two of Cups, attributed to the change sephirah of the Theattributedtriad, represents love, whichisisabundance, process. The archetypal a dynamic three, to the stability sephirah, the structuring of love, and the inﬁnite variety of opportunities for love. If we deﬁne “will” as “the tendency to act in accordance with the preferences of the individual, as deﬁned by his nature,”4 then in any given situation there is a tendency to act in a particular way. Since that tendency must be a function of love (“love,” as we have deﬁned it above, representing the direction of the will, or its target) then it follows that at each moment there is some object of love to which he can move. This being the case, the individual always has the opportunity to unite, and hence need not be concerned about separation from the objects of his love. Naturally, this realisation only occurs upon complete identiﬁcation with the will and the annihilation of the ego, and is properly attributed here to Binah, the ﬁrst sephirah above the Abyss and associated with the attainment of the Master of the Temple. This is the ideal manifestation of the element of water, the provision of a direction for will at every moment. The “longings” of love which plague the Man of Earth arise essentially from the imposition of a standard contrary to his will, and only the destruction of the personality can ﬁnally banish this nefarious standard. The succedent decan of Cancer represents the sign in its full strength, and the inﬂuence of Scorpio (the “ﬁxed” sign of water) gives the embracing nature of Cancer substance and power, enabling the realisation of that love. The rulership of Mercury brings with it a dynamic element and ﬂuid element, preventing the ﬁxation of Binah from becoming an attachment, and enabling the joyous taking of love
49 in the moment, followed by a genuine acceptance of change and a fresh progression to the next moment. This is the ideal of love, and the proper combination of change and stability.
and as with all the Fours. if so. for the addition of more than is necessary allows for the development of attachment to those unnecessary things.50 CHAPTER 3. This is the root of all attachment. serving no purpose. it confuses the individual into thinking that he wants things that he actually doesn’t. The abundance of the Three already provides the individual with all the opportunities he needs. with the Four. and it is far easier to turn to this surplus. the accumulation of emotional wealth is unnecessary. loss is feared because the objects lost no longer provide an easy means for satisfaction. by appealing to his fear of uncertainty and corresponding tendency to collect and stockpile. instead of to look for new opportunities. In the case of the Three. there is a surplus of opportunity for love laying around. “Luxury” implies a surplus. At best. The ﬂaw is this plan is that if the “proper” object of love is always present in the moment. The motivation for this should be clear. but it still had to be found.4: Correspondences of the Four of Cups the crossing of the With Wands becomes of the Abyss. As physical wealth is accumulated so that the individual can impact his environment. love could be found in any moment. theisabundance glance. so is “emotional wealth” collected to provide for future satisfaction. then. the luxury of the Four is only equivalent to this to the extent that the individual is not attached to his surplus (which. This is true even when the things in surplus are not what is desired. cannot really be sensibly classed as “his”). At ﬁrst these concepts appear similar. and if such an opportunity were to be desired then the individual would have to look outwards to replace this means. but the diﬀerence signiﬁcant. this concept contains the seed of trouble. more than is necessary. then any object other than this (which is overwhelmingly likely to include the vast majority of the individual’s emotional wealth) is unsuitable. CUPS Four of Cups Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Luxury The Lord of Blended Pleasure Chesed Stability sephirah of actual triad Cadent of Cancer The Moon Table 3.Three of the luxury of the Four. but the downward progression over the Abyss indicates that this attach- . and at worst.
is a very tenuous element. This is further signiﬁed by the cadent decan of Cancer. Chesed is the stability sephirah of the actual triad. The contamination of attachment is a pernicious poison as will be seen when we continue down the Tree. and in its own fading its tendency to embrace becomes a tendency towards possessiveness. In this third and ﬁnal decan the sign is beginning to fade. and here represents the attempt to impose structure on love. even if it fails to satisfy. the true instincts of love being misdirected into attachment to what is already possessed. those of illusion and the distortion of pure reﬂection. change and stability must be perfectly balanced to avoid this pollution. . being passive but ﬂuid. and is easily corrupted below the Abyss when not kept pure on the middle pillar. and the negative qualities that we mentioned in the context of the Two now come to light. The rulership of the Moon brings its worst qualities. to force it into order.51 ment has already begun to form. and this can only be reinforced by the dreamy and idle inﬂuence of Pisces on this decan. Water. an attachment to the safe and to the familiar. and the element of water is just not suited to this treatment. What Cancer fears more than anything else is loss.
This is much more negative than the strife of the Five of Wands was precisely because water is such a delicate element. The luxury of the Four.52 CHAPTER 3. always signiﬁes of the order in the Four. it is coming to full force. will inevitably fail to satisfy if it is substituted for the natural objects of attraction signiﬁed by the will. Scorpio’s unchallenged attempts to force love under its control will ultimately fail of their own accord.5: Correspondences of the Five of Cups downward progression Geburah. the Five of Cups we see the result of the attempt to impose structure on love: disappointment. jealousy. since the need is illusory and can never be satisﬁed. which we have already seen is usually a ﬂawed approach to the delicacies of love. the “emotional wealth” which has been accumulated. Scorpio. It is this suggestion of “need” which really results in the disappointment. The rulership of Mars — Scorpio’s natural ruler — compounds this tendency. CUPS Five of Cups Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Disappointment The Lord of Loss in Pleasure Geburah Change sephirah of actual triad Ascendant of Scorpio Mars Table 3. and in its ascendant decan it is not tempered by the other water signs. . from Thethe disturbanceactual triad totothe change and withthe stability sephirah of the sephirah. primarily denotes desire. The sign usually indicates a very strong controlling tendency. passion and possessiveness in this context. the ﬁxed sign of water.
Six of Cups
Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Pleasure The Lord of Pleasure Tiphareth Resolution sephirah of actual triad Succedent of Scorpio The Sun
Table 3.6: Correspondences of the Six of Cups down to Tiphareth resolves the errors of The movementcards necessary toussuccessfullythe middle pillar,the previous two and brings back to to the equilibrium which is master the element of water. Disappointment has given way to pleasure, and the adept is able to take this pleasure from objects, and then put them down again. The contamination which arises from attachment is not present, here; there is balance in the attractions of love which prevents the individual from falling into attachment, as he “loses himself” in the objects of his love, leaving no room for it. As with all the sixes, this represents a full acquiescence in the equivalence of stability and change, and this is the best manifestation of the element on the actual plane; pleasure is the natural result of the satisfaction of will. The freneticism of Scorpio is tamed somewhat in its succedent decan, and the calmness, sensitivity and receptivity of the inﬂuence of Pisces provides a grounding and a sense of perspective. More than anything else, the rulership of the Sun provides a suitable centre of gravity upon which balance can be maintained, and this brings out the best elements of both Scorpio and Pisces.
CHAPTER 3. CUPS
Seven of Cups
Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Debauch The Lord of Illusionary Success Netzach Change sephirah of individual triad Cadent of Scorpio Venus
Table 3.7: Correspondences of the Seven of Cups across Veil Moving downtheWhereasthe triad, of Paroketh andofintoofthe change sephirah of individual the equilibrium the Six is inevitably disturbed. the disturbance of the luxury the Four ultimately led to the equilibrium of this six, the disturbance of this equilibrium compounds the error. Instead of learning the futility of attachment, it is pursued with even more desperate vigour; the Seven of Cups is debauch. This card is suggestive of addiction, which is characterised by a failure to satisfy resulting in an even more ravenous and voluminous consumption of the substance. In its cadent decan, Scorpio is inﬂuenced by Cancer, the opposite combination of the Three. With the Three, however, Cancer was in its succedent decan, and already stable, so the energy of Scorpio gave it substance and power. In this case, Scorpio is in its cadent decan and beginning to fade, and the possessiveness and suﬀocating tendency of Cancer combines with Scorpio’s passion to result in some approaching desperation. Venus also brings its negative qualities to bear here, its attractive qualities pulling the individual away from equilibrium and rendering him completely confused as to what his preferences really are. In the Seven, the combination of these three elements leads to an individual who is controlled by his desires, instead of informed by them.
Eight of Cups
Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Indolence The Lord of Abandoned Success Hod Stability sephirah of individual triad Ascendant of Pisces Saturn
Table 3.8: Correspondences of the Eight of Cups we the Seven of Wands, we referred WhenSince discussedEightstenuousasand delicateofelement,to Crowley’s idea that the acted something a remedy to the Sevens. water is such a and deviation from the centre tends to lead to mischief, the Eight of Cups, rather than resolving the error of the Seven, swings around to make the opposite error: indolence. Whereas the error of the Seven was an overactive chasing of desire, the error of the Eight arises from inactivity. There are suggestions of resignation in this card, the following of old and dusty routines which have long since ceased to give any pleasure, almost as a result of a simple lack of imagination. It is as if the error of the Seven has led to exhaustion. It is very suggestive — as indeed is the card itself in the Thoth deck — of stagnant water. Pisces on its positive side is sensitive, calm, easygoing and unpretentious, but on its negative side can be idle, indecisive, melancholic and indulgent. It its primary decan it is unaﬀected by the other signs, but as it represents the “fading away” of the element of water which is a fragile element to begin with, it really needs this inﬂuence. The dull, heavy plodding of the rulership of Saturn merely adds to the feeling of resignation, and it is as if the individual simply cannot be bothered with love any more; since love is a dynamic process, this is fatal to success, but equally non-movement cannot lead to disappointment, either. The individual who disagrees with Tennyson’s sentiment5 in In Memoriam would be quite at home in the Eight of Cups.
better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
since it both enlivens the ﬂuid to avoid stagnation and avoids deliberately stirring it up into a storm. and subdued. Pisces gains some substance in its succedent decan. CUPS Nine of Cups Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Happiness The Lord of Material Happiness Yesod Resolution seph. but aid Pisces in steering him away from the frenzy of the Seven.9: Correspondences of the Nine of Cups the Nine preceding erThe descent to“full impact once again resolves thebutisinbalanced rors. being more quiet. its most material sense. a key element in the proper attitude to the nature of water. a degradation of the pleasure of the Six. Both of these two inﬂuences lift the individual out of the indolence of the Eight.” is happiness in the case of water. of individual triad Succedent of Pisces Jupiter Table 3. The of the elemental force. moderated. It represents satisfaction. and the inﬂuence of Jupiter — the natural ruler of Pisces — causes the individual to look outwards rather than inwards.56 CHAPTER 3. being as it is wholly free of the defects in the Seven and the Eight. and harmony is once again attained as change with stability. The inﬂuence of Cancer brings both a dynamic quality and a degree of consistency to the picture. . and primarily exhibits calmness. sensitivity to the will and an easygoing nature. but this side of the Veil of Paroketh the individual is perfectly happy to accept it.
and once satisfaction has been obtained then the individual must move on. but it signiﬁes that the possessiveness of Scorpio has ﬁnally won out. The “grass is always greener on the other side” because love works through motivation. at least — any deviation from the middle pillar leads quickly to mischief. The inﬂuence of Scorpio — an energetic sign — and the rulership of Mars — an energetic planet and Scorpio’s natural ruler — would appear to contradict this. but a lack of energy to do anything about it. rather than the stolid indolence of the Eight. even when 6 The Book of Thoth . but this is merely illusion. but instead suggests saturation. No more pleasure is gained. of theTen represents the complete physicalismanifestation element of water. This not the satisfaction of the Nine. at the end of all analysis. The cadent decan of the mutable sign of each element is the “fading away of the fading away” of that element. which is satiety. a dynamic concept.10: Correspondences of the Ten of Cups the Finally. rather than satisfaction in ﬁxed states. one did not want it after all. and Pisces — especially in its cadent decan — is too weak to do anything about it. desire promises satisfaction in a ﬁxed state. and it has succeeded in excluding all the other elements. but even at the bottom of the pillar we can see that love.”6 This card serves as the ﬁnal conﬁrmation that love without will is no love at all. but Scorpio has held onto its possessions. there is something approaching a mild sense of confusion at the absence of satisfaction. love is. The story of the Cups has shown that — below the Abyss. and constantly it is discovered that. and here suggests the element of water coming to a stable but complete rest. love is an act. “the pursuit of pleasure has been crowned with perfect success. As Crowley puts it. In this case.57 Ten of Cups Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Satiety The Lord of Perfected Success Malkuth Physical plane Cadent of Pisces Mars Table 3. having got everything that one wanted. aided in this task by its ruler. By itself.
” is ultimately powerless by itself. But this Love is as it were a by-product of that Will. 57 . Will at least can oppress when exercised to the exclusion of all else.”7 Love and will are complements. CUPS allowed to “win.58 CHAPTER 3.”8 7 Liber 8 AL II I. and if apparent contradiction should arise in any crisis. but love merely ﬁzzles away quietly: “the nature of that Will is Love. but as the passive element. since it is a passive element. it does not contradict or supersede that Will. it is the Will that will guide us aright. love must always come “under will.
but only a matter of minutes without air. it is associated with new life. It is an active element. enabling it to support life. The element of air forms the apex of a triangle of which ﬁre and water comprise the base. is combination of the elements — and reconciler them. and which carries it from its source to produce life-giving rain in other places.Chapter 4 Swords Ace of Swords Name Sephirah Position on tree The Root of the Powers of Air Kether Source sephirah of archetypal triad Table 4. we come to. and air viviﬁes water. man can go for weeks without food (earth). it is air which supports the vapour produced when heat (ﬁre) causes water to evaporate. Further. ﬁre corresponding to the father and water to the mother. of the secondary elements Tﬁre and water — bothaathe firstbetweentwotwo primaryﬁrst place. It is also connected with the breath. As such. ﬁre cannot burn in the absence of oxygen. and necessary for life. and corresponds to the son in the Tetragrammaton. and fresh 59 .1: Correspondences of the Ace of Swords he element of air. In the boiling water over ﬁre (or throwing water onto ﬁre) produces steam — a gas — which is attributable to air. days without water. In the second place.
Through synthesis.” so is air an active element. attributable to the destructive powers of ﬁre). In occult symbolism. the attribution of air to reason and intellect refers to its role as a reconciler between ﬁre and water.” I. codifying them into knowledge.60 CHAPTER 4. air has little real substance but can nevertheless ﬁll any container. 1 As 2 AL illustrated by the common expression “the winds of change. however. As the son grows up and “leaves the family nest. a container must be completely sealed to contain air. the progression of the element of air down the Tree of Life shows the development of the combinations between ﬁre and water. It illustrates the tension and the harmony between will and love. SWORDS beginnings. rather than just sealed at the bottom. between force and form. between will and love. and communication. As an active and “wet” element. 57 . and through analysis the reason breaks those relationships into their component parts. the intellect. comprising both synthesis (combination. and the study of the suit of Swords is instructive as to the ways in which the intellect — the “executive faculty” of the individual — can act as a reconciler between those two concepts as the individual attempts to put “love under will”2 into practice. and also as to the ways in which the intellect can serve to frustrate that reconciliation. and give form to it (e. allowing it to form inferences and to project into conclusions. air is most usually associated with reason.g. Contrasted to the passivity of water. As depicted in the small cards. attributable to the form-giving powers of water) and analysis (separation. the reason perceives patterns and relationships between phenomena.1 just as the son comprises something new created by the combination of the father and the mother. a balloon).
Air is the ideal ruler in this card.2: Correspondences of the Two of Swords manifestation the of is peace. for only when this is restricted is there any incentive for conﬂict. here. The ideal the two parties toofmerelyelementfromairpeace it isThis is a dynamic rather than static peace. perfecting balancing the diﬀering — but. but they must also be able to fully express their own natures. not conﬂicting — interests of the primary elements. The attribution to the ascendant decan of Libra is natural. signifying that the diﬀering interests of ﬁre and water are reﬂected perfectly by the element of air with no “contamination” by its own interests. for thereby there cometh hurt. Here the element of air is acting as a true diplomat. The rulership of the Moon brings a quality of reﬂection to the Two.” . that sign being primarily concerned with balance and harmony. 22: “Bind nothing! Let there be no diﬀerence made among you between any one thing & any other thing. for true not suﬃcient for refrain opposition.61 Two of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Peace The Lord of Peace Restored Chokmah Change sephirah of archetypal triad Ascendant of Libra The Moon Table 4. It is an aphorism of AL I. governing the aﬀairs of its domain with complete indiﬀerence and no thought for itself.
above the Abyss. Unlike the two primary elements. and the interest absent from the Two here begins to materialise. “three’s a crowd. SWORDS Three of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Sorrow The Lord of Sorrow Binah Stability sephirah of archetypal triad Succedent of Libra Saturn Table 4. and the element of air does not allow that self-interest to interfere with its task. itself. form has been introduced. Yet. the“negative” connotation. The heavy rulership of Saturn keeps these feelings under check. . The inﬂuence of Aquarius reﬂects the “awareness” of the element of air of the nature of its own being. The succedent decan of Libra shows the sign in its full strength. It also signiﬁes the fact that enlightenment cannot be attained through reason alone. The sorrow of the Three is akin to the “universal sorrow. although until we cross the Abyss it will not become manifest. 22 has now become clear. the full implications of the nature of balance becoming clear.62 CHAPTER 4.3: Correspondences of the Three of Swords Swords only card attributable to The Three ofan elementisofsorrow. possess no individuality or any real interest of its own. the scales must be perfectly still and steady. the ideal is still perfection.” and that any actions taken on its own account will inevitably disturb that balance.selfthe supernal sephiroth which has a By forming the triad. however. and forces the Three to accept the hard but inevitable lesson of its own nature. and quietly resigning itself to the fact. Aquarius being associated with independence. that reason can only serve as a facilitator to “love under will. as a reconciler the element of air has to take a back seat when its job is done. and must moderate its own activities as well as the diﬀerent interests of ﬁre and water. freedom and expression. as the saying goes.” The nature of the “hurt” prophesied in AL I.” a general rather than speciﬁc feeling of pathos arising from the intellect — now possessing suﬃcient form to perceive itself — understanding that it does.
the Abyss temporary. a realm of the actual of the Two. and below the Abyss that structure can only ever be temporary. foreshadowing its own failure and the ensuing recommencement of battle. a diplomatic strategy that cannot be long successful. and brings with it its negative qualities of petty manipulation fuelled by self-interest. as in the ﬁnal decan the powers of the signs begin to fade.63 Four of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Truce The Lord of Rest from Strife Chesed Stability sephirah of actual triad Cadent of Libra Jupiter Table 4. and inevitably will. be broken. The attribution to the cadent decan of Libra is apt. and unlike the inevitable and necessary physical laws of Saturn. but all the Fours contain the seeds of their own downfall. and the balance and harmony inherent in Libra here begins to weaken. and the element of air here has its work cut out for it. .4: Correspondences of the Four of Swords truce of the Four of Swords echoes the peace Thedegraded. The rulership of Jupiter — the father of the Gods — is suggestive of temporal rather than natural law. but below and into the its nature is much Truce is cessation of hostilities between two conﬂicting rather than complementing interests. the temporal laws of Jupiter can. The signiﬁcance of Chesed — the form sephirah of the actual triad — is the attempt of air to create a structure through which those conﬂicting interests can be reconciled. The inﬂuence of Gemini — the mutable sign of air itself — reinforces this fading.
the interests it perceives are illusory. as will he. and has no interests of its own. and its destructive forces have broken the structure which was tenuously holding the truce together. since although his intellect tends to identify itself with his individuality. resultingthe defeat.5: Correspondences of the Five of Swords Fives show appearance of the “ﬂaws” inherent in All thefailed. The self-interest of the element — which was shakily held in by the Four — has emerged triumphant. and their pursuit can only lead to futility. it is the individual himself who is defeated. freedom and expression are untempered by the other air signs. The astrological attribution is to the ascendant decan of Aquarius. SWORDS Five of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Defeat The Lord of Defeat Geburah Change sephirah of actual triad Ascendant of Aquarius Venus Table 4. The rulership of Venus here brings its negative qualities of illusion. Geburahuneasy truce of the Four the Fours. it is the opposite of the clearly reﬂecting property of the Moon in the Two. and in the Five of Swords the has ﬁnally in is the change sephirah of the actual triad. it really is not. Naturally. where its tendencies towards independence. .64 CHAPTER 4. and it contemptuously dismisses and breaks through the structure holding it back in the Four. the process of “love under will” being frustrated. and defeated. and it suﬀers accordingly. The king has here turned away from the interests of his country. its attractive power pulling the intellect away from its proper role as reconciler by presenting it with dreams of its own self-interest by conspiring with the natural idealism of Aquarius.
and avoids the error of the Five. in this case. of self-knowledge. By combining the Four and the Five. and the rulership of Mercury completes the picture. In its succedent decan. not for personal aggrandisement. the perfect diplomat on the actual plane. application to the and use of knowledge. The perceived self-interest of air is not absent here. the reconciler between ﬁre and water. Aquarius is more stable. The communicative and interactive inﬂuence of Gemini reacts well with the outgoing and creative nature of Aquarius.65 Six of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Science The Lord of Earned Success Tiphareth Resolution sephirah of actual triad Succedent of Aquarius Mercury Table 4. The Six of Swords science. the true scientist investigates nature because of a genuine love of knowledge. by making the structure of the truce ﬂexible. the intellect is able to successfully reconcile will with love. to fulﬁll its true purpose on the actual plane. to error. . and subsumes itself joyfully in its task without the distraction of competing personal interest.6: Correspondences of the Six of Swords the middle pillar. but it is identiﬁed with its true purpose. its emphasis on communication and inter-personal dynamics blending to make the Six the ideal communicator. the element of air is Returning isto achievethe impartialrectify the previouspursuitonce more able to balance. and likewise in the Six of Swords the element of air identiﬁes itself with what it is.
dly and in degradation. and can therefore only be unstable. the intellect cannot succeed in its task. for individual and the fatal error the element can make to confuse itself for a real individual. 3 See the discussion of the Two of Swords on page 61. they will soon see through him. A diplomat can never be successful in bringing reconciliation unless he has a clear understanding of the interests of both parties to the dispute. and the Seven of Wands represents intense mental activity. The element goes out of its way to be “helpful” in its task as reconciler. but this balance is centred on the fading idealism of Aquarius. and abandon the negotiating table no matter what he does. if they cannot express their true natures. to turn away from its true task and to chase its own illusory ambitions. instead of the true will which is veiled. its actions are all futility.3 The cadent decan of Aquarius is inﬂuenced by Libra. In its rulership. Netzach is the change sephirah of the individual triad. SWORDS Seven of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Futility The Lord of Unstable Eﬀort Netzach Change sephirah of individual triad Cadent of Aquarius The Moon Table 4. a desperate task that can never succeed. the Moon here reﬂects the tempestuous promptings of the unconscious self.66 CHAPTER 4. and not on the true centre of gravity of the self. condemning the intellect to seek balance upon an unstable point. conﬂict will be inevitable.7: Correspondences of the Seven of Swords the Veil element of rapiBelowmostremainsof Paroketh. if he bluﬀs. Will and love cannot be forced to conform to an ideal. Unable to perceive the true nature of will and love. since he has become wholly irrelevant to them. and the intellect works according to its own distorted reﬂections. . but below the Veil of Paroketh the true nature of the self is veiled. the this isisthe air degradesplane.
and with no external inﬂuences to mediate its tendencies towards shallowness. the ﬁxity of its illusions of importance distracting it. The Eight is attributed to the ﬁrst decan of Gemini. the Eight retreats into itself. Instead of going forth and attempting to reconcile love and will. of the opposite kind to error the Seven. The rulership of Jupiter enhances this tendency to ﬁx itself in illusion.67 Eight of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Interference The Lord of Shortened Force Hod Stability sephirah of individual triad Ascendant of Gemini Jupiter Table 4. and instead attempts to ﬁx itself in its own interests. a source in the ﬁcation of the self. It abandons its task. the expansionary inﬂuence of Jupiter indeed being evident. the structure of its own phantasms going just far enough to cover the lack of depth to which it is prepared to look. the only result of this turning away can be an interference with both love and will. superﬁciality and gullibility go unchecked.8: Correspondences of the Eight of Swords od being the stability sephirah of triad. the Htheerror ininthe Eight of but has is. since it in fact has no individuality of its own. But. leaving the intellect oblivious to the fact that it is being distracted. even if that is done on the basis of a misconception of them.commonthe individual misidentiSwords in a sense. . but serving merely to compound the house of cards the mind is building for itself. a very insubstantial sign.
Indeed. SWORDS Nine of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Cruelty The Lord of Despair and Cruelty Yesod Resolution seph. but it has been replaced by a zeal which blinds the intellect to its own shortcomings. even if caught. Without being informed by the will — which is concealed by the Veil of Paroketh — the intellect is condemned to chase phantasms of its own making which cannot satisfy. cannot by itself provide a way out from its own labyrinth. instead of being controlled. This card is an aphorism for the phenomenon of the mind trying desperately to complete a task for which it is not suited. The shallow and superﬁcial nature of the Eight is not in evidence here. intellectual and discriminating tendencies ﬁrmly established. of individual triad Succedent of Gemini Mars Table 4. but under the rulership of Mars these are allowed to control. for now the equilibrium reached provides a way for the intellect to remain permanently in its illusion. and it is the mental cruelty arising from the fact that the intellect.9: Correspondences of the Nine of Swords amongst the four suits. . no matter how hard it tries. The Nine of Swords is cruelty. rather than compensatingthe middle pillar can abate the errors of the element of air when settled into for the errors of the Seven and the Eight. not even returning to Uniquelythe individual plane.68 CHAPTER 4. the analytical. The astrological attribution is to the succedent decan of Gemini. the balance attained in the Nine of Swords serves only to ﬁx the error of the intellect even further.
”4 In the aftermath of total ruin. the only direction in which development can occur is upwards. we are still left with love and will.69 Ten of Swords Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Ruin The Lord of Ruin Malkuth Physical plane Cadent of Gemini The Sun Table 4. resulting in its own destruction. since that same division and discrimination will — if not perfectly focused — tend to drive a wedge between the two parties whose reconciliation is being sought. there can be no more destruction — “there is that which remains. All propositions come ultimately back to “A is A. if all is destroyed. and nothing now to keep them apart. 9 . When reason has destroyed itself.10: Correspondences of the Ten of Swords of the element of air The complete physical manifestationcompletion. Divisionthe in Malkuth is ruin. any chain of logic must ultimately be circular. This card shows the diﬃcult nature of the task of the intellect. there is hope in this card. pushing reason to its limits will ultimately expose the impotence of reason itself. for the diﬀering interests of those two elements must be balanced. Yet. moreover. As Crowley says in Magick in Theory and Practice: Knowledge is. Unlike the oppression of the Ten of Wands. oddly at ﬁrst. and on what a ﬁne edge success in the matter must rest. ruin is ﬁnal . and any restrictions which may have previously railroaded that growth are now absent. Analysis is a destructive process. and in Ten of Swords that destruction has reached is necessary in the role of air as a reconciler of ﬁre and water. and exacerbate the problem it is trying to solve. The pushing of reason to its own 4 AL II. and in order to balance them there must be careful discrimination between them. and the satiety of the Ten of Cups.” All logical propositions can only be understood in terms of other logical propositions. an impossible conception. and in the absence of axiomatic truths whose truth can only be demonstrated outside of the realm of reason.
and is an arcanum of the Masters of the Temple. that this far down the tree. what has been destroyed was almost entirely deleterious in any case. and the result of its destruction is actually to allow the shining through of the self which it was previously veiling. . and the rulership of the Sun highlights the real truth of this card. The attribution to the cadent decan of Gemini signiﬁes the fading away of the intellect.70 CHAPTER 4. the ﬂower blooming on the blighted battleﬁeld will grow unimpeded towards the Sun. SWORDS destruction is a valid magical technique.
As the element of air formed a triangle when combined with the two 71 . the daughter is held to be a “by-product” of the creation of the son.1: Correspondences of the Ace of Disks is it is of the passive The final element theearth. and derives from ﬁre and water. elements. as opposed to ideals arising out of the physical world which is the actual order. As far as the four elements are concerned. the metaphysical theory holds that the element of earth is “derived from” the elements of ﬁre and water in order to provide them with a medium in which to manifest. Earth is element in the other and from where they draw their substance. The ﬁnal h´ of Tetragrammaton is a product of the mother and e father. the physical world is created as a place for the ideals to manifest.Chapter 5 Disks Ace of Disks Name Sephirah Position on tree The Root of the Powers of Earth Kether Source sephirah of archetypal triad Table 5. much as light and heat are the by-products of certain types of chemical reaction. Like air. andwhichthe second three operate. The metaphysical theory mirrors that of our Qabalistic framework. where the creation of ideals precedes the creation of actuals. In this sense. it is a secondary element. but in a diﬀerent way than the son is.
and is easily collected and hoarded.”1 and this deﬁnition shows clearly that will by itself is impotent without a medium in which to cause change. The element of earth is most commonly associated with material wealth. as the water wheel harnesses the power of the river. It represents the culmination of his eﬀorts. for indeed. the third dimension arising upwards out of the triangle suggesting the creation of a physical world from the creation of the son through the union of the mother and the father. but also with material power. and power derived from the material world. so the element of earth forms the apex of a pyramid with that triangle as its base. with is the element of earth. Magick is deﬁned as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will. and the results of his development.72 CHAPTER 5. “magical power” is ultimately both power over the material world. heavy and inert. in the small cards of the tarot. 1 Magick in Theory and Practice. Not only is this change manifested through earth. Thus. but it is through the manipulation of earth that this change is brought about. it is passive. . These two are essentially equivalent. and to harmonise his being with it. rather than to attempt to create it. since the essence of successful magick is a question of positioning the self optimally within the environment and being suﬃciently sensitive to the physical world as to be able to harness the power already latent in that element. earth resists the imposition of form. this three-dimensional shape suggesting the solidity of matter and the actuality of physical manifestation. the suit of disks shows the progression of the individual’s ability to manipulate his environment. DISKS primary elements of ﬁre and water. As a “dry” element. he himself is a part of it. it is dull. Being a “cold” element.
providing a basis for expansion.2: Correspondences of the Two of Disks of earth we have said. and the nature of love is to move to one point from another. discipline and hard work. it has to be dynamic. we can say that the nature of will is to move from one point to another.” then it follows that the ultimate “purpose” of the physical world is to allow for the manifestation of such Change. a ﬂexible and malleable medium through which the other elements can move and express themselves. The rulership of Jupiter provides a solid framework against which that change can be directed. but depend on such a change in order to have any meaning. Simplistically. The sign of Capricorn is associated with ambition. . and accordingly its ideal manifestation is would for such a medium to be static. to The “purpose” of the elementchange. If the aim of magick is “to cause Change in conformity with Will. The attribution to the ﬁrst decan of Capricorn also provides this card with the suggestion of Pan. and this framework links the change of the Two of Disks speciﬁcally to that which is in accordance with will.73 Two of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Change The Lord of Harmonious Change Chokmah Change sephirah of archetypal triad Ascendant of Capricorn Jupiter Table 5. ascanmake no sense provide a medium in which the other elements manifest. It is. all of which are directed at causing some kind of change. and these associations are strongest in its ascendant decan. uninﬂuenced as it is by the other signs. and both of these things not only require a change in the environment.
DISKS Three of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Works The Lord of Material Works Binah Stability sephirah of archetypal triad Succedent of Capricorn Mars Table 5. The internal combustion engine regulates the ﬁring of multiple pistons through a rigid mechanism and through the cam shaft transforms the explosive chemical energy into the desired rotational kinetic energy.74 CHAPTER 5. the latter being something that can only be measured against a background of structure. given energy by the rulership of Mars.ofwill — but was pure Binah being stability sephirah of the archetypal triad. The rate at which work is performed is power. Unlike some of the other signs. Work and discipline are the main characteristics of Capricorn. it directedtheimpulse. . the harnessing of any physical force through structure enables energy in one system to be transferred to another system in the desired way. since it is so inert. The succedent decan of Capricorn is also inﬂuenced by Taurus. and the idea of coordination.3: Correspondences of the Three of Disks change in the Two of Disks was — by the Thethewas isolated from other changes. so the idea of structure in the Three of Disks enables the change of the Two of Disks to be harnessed in order that the power which will appear in the Four of Disks can be generated. and this is the deﬁnition of work. which is associated primarily with stability and progress. and in its succedent decan these characteristics are at their strongest. and beyond corruption. Three Disks brings the idea of structure to a pattern of changes. Mars has no detrimental eﬀect on the element of earth.
and harnesses that energy into a stable and regular structure. represents the harmony in this physical action. In this case. that “fading away” has a direct physical connotation. Echoing what we saw in the other three suits. The combination of this inﬂuence with that of the Sun tempers the ambition of Capricorn. being actual. its position squarely in the centre of the Solar System. the Four ofof energypowThis side of Abyss. There is a suggestion of the humming of a well-oiled machine. all machines and engines wear out with use.4: Correspondences of the Four of Disks we in Disks is Aser. and that energy has only a limited supply. being actual rather than ideal.theforetoldofthethe previousiscard.75 Four of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Power The Lord of Earthly Power Chesed Stability sephirah of actual triad Cadent of Capricorn The Sun Table 5. Power — the rate at which work is performed — is the actual structuring and direction of physical energy. the focused transmission for the accomplishment of will. as well as with the perfectionism and attention to detail which are conducive to such. each of the Fours. Virgo — which inﬂuences Capricorn’s cadent decan — is associated with this eﬃciency. energy is consumed in this process. and as the ﬁrst sephirah across the Abyss this card illustrates the ideal functioning of the element of earth on the actual plane. Moreover. being actual rather than ideal — no process is 100% eﬃcient. . and it is this consumption which is the fading away. power the manifest result of structuring element earth. The rulership of the Sun. here. Again. the essential problem with the Fours is that their qualities arise from a structure which. which leads to an increase in power. As with all the Fours. and the directorship which allows for the work performed to be eﬃcient. contain the seeds of their own downfall. and here the source of that downfall is plain to see. the transition from ideal to actual which occurs in Chesed coincides with the cadent (fading) decan of the cardinal sign of each respective element. can be broken. as — again. since work consumes energy in the source system.
and balance. Again.” and it is commonly said that what powerful people fear the most is losing their power. creating worry at the prospect of its power structure being disturbed. but the ruler of the ascendant decan of Taurus is Mercury. in its positive aspect. indulgence. powergenerating structure of the corrupts. suggesting attraction. the Five represents a disturbance in the stability of the Four. . Taurus. here — resistance to change. Geburah Disks signiﬁesFour. DISKS Five of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Worry The Lord of Material Trouble Geburah Change sephirah of actual triad Ascendant of Taurus Mercury Table 5. The ruler of Taurus is Venus. since we are inevitably faced with a world which changes.5: Correspondences of the Five of Disks is the change sephirah of the actual triad. union. Yet again.76 CHAPTER 5. the rulership of Mercury shows the eﬀect of the intellect. As the saying goes. or change to. and steadiness. this prospect being manifested as worry. “powertheand the Five of a movement in. but in its negative aspect signiﬁes lethargy. but this is a futile emotion. and — most importantly. signiﬁes determination. which brings analysis and division. stability.
An equilibrated dynamic structure is required to enable him to generate any kind of power that he may reasonably need in a given situation. and allows its positive elements to shine through further. The worry of the Five is misplaced. even if the adept could generate power indeﬁnitely with such a structure. The succedent decan of Taurus represents the sign in its strength. structure and force must be brought into balance and harmony. so. and the best practical manifestation of the element of earth is one which is conducive to success. the positive development of a material position in a (dynamically) stable way. since its very stability signiﬁes a lack of ﬂexibility. will lead to success. since when faced with a changing environment and changing objectives any ﬁxed power structure will ultimately be found deﬁcient.6: Correspondences of the Six of Disks in the worry Five. The development of “magical power” conveys an ability to put to effective use any energy which happens to be at hand. as is always the case in the middle pillar. The ability to do this. it would not help him very much it if didn’t generate the particular kind of power that he needed in a given situation.77 Six of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Success The Lord of Material Success Tiphareth Resolution sephirah of actual triad Succedent of Taurus The Moon Table 5. The inﬂuence of Virgo on this decan brings with it an attention to detail. In the previous suits. to generate power from the circumstances at hand which is appropriate to the circumstances at hand. being mainly associated with progress. The rulership of the Moon signiﬁes that this process is being conducted in the reﬂected light of the Sun. is that The error an inexhaustible of themechanismandgeneratingtheisuniverse has supply of energy. there really no need to be attached to any particular of power. of course. we have associated the Sixes with the best practical manifestation of the element on the actual plane. and one which can be manipulated in such a way. craftsmanship and a delight in working with material things rather than simply possessing them that ameliorates the resistance to change in Taurus. enabling the element of earth to be kept in its proper .
. DISKS perspective.78 CHAPTER 5. which prevents the kind of attachment inherent in the Five from distracting the individual and inhibiting his success.
” a historic expenditure which cannot be recovered or “undone” and is therefore irrelevant to future decision making. and the individual triad being in the plane of reﬂection. where he wanted to be last week is wholly irrelevant to that objective. Past desires can be likened to the economic concept of “sunk costs. but to demonstrate that the failure in question has no bearing on what the individual does now. rather than to the fruits of exercising that power. which here brings an element of attachment to power itself. except insofar as his experience has taught him something of the nature of the universe which may be of use to him. The engine may well still work perfectly. and becomes unsuited to current conditions.7: Correspondences of the Seven of Disks the of Paroketh into Descending acrosssuccessVeilthe Six success isand by thethe individual triad.2 There is nothing inherent in the state of aﬀairs itself which constitutes it as a “failure”. it soon outlives its purpose. one man’s failed project is another man’s inspiration and starting point. The “proper” objective of the individual is to optimise his position starting from where he is now . the disturbance of naturally failure. and generate precisely the kind 2 Netzach is associated with the individual’s desires. the of is disturbed change sephirah of Netzach.79 Seven of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Failure The Lord of Success Unfulﬁlled Netzach Change sephirah of individual triad Cadent of Taurus Saturn Table 5. The light of Tiphareth being veiled. arising as it does from a comparison of the actual state of aﬀairs with some previously desired state of aﬀairs. and to a need to exercise some kind of inﬂuence over the environment. .” Failure is a purely interpretative or imaginary quality. we can easily see the error inherent in this idea of “failure. The attribution to the cadent decan of Taurus — inﬂuenced by Capricorn. regardless of whether or not that inﬂuence is “beneﬁcial” — shows the result of trying to stubbornly maintain a “ﬁxed” material position. This is not to deny the reality of the fact that a previous objective was not achieved.
To become attached to a material position is one kind of error. but if that power is not what is currently required then the individual’s objectives will be frustrated. This card is a useful illustration of the “true” purpose of the element of earth to the adept.”3 3 Magick in Theory and Practice. which ultimately amounts to the same thing. or his objective is itself ill-conceived) or not being able to generate the “kind and degree of Force” required. since “a Man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him. and he will encounter failure. .e. showing that every failure is the result of either the adept not fully grasping either the nature of the individual situation or the nature of his own being (i.80 CHAPTER 5. of course. not simply power from the element of earth. if his aim is to “cause Change to occur in conformity with Will” then what he should be interested in is power over the element of earth. . through the proper medium to the proper object . Crowley said in Magick in Theory and Practice of the “postulate of magick” that: Any required change may be eﬀected by the application of the proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner. but the important point is that his objective should be to use that power rather than to aimlessly accumulate it. but to become attached to a material position which isn’t even helpful to your objectives is of another order entirely. DISKS of power it was intended to. Earth is from where his power must ultimately arise. . Every failure proves that one or more requirements of the postulate have not been fulﬁlled. his approach is not suited to his objective. as we have just described. The heavy and retardant inﬂuence of the rulership of Saturn prolongs this aversion to change.
and in such a case an approach of “looking after the pennies so that the pounds will look after themselves” can be a good one. 4 See 5 See page 39. The prudence of the Eight can refer to the acquisition of skills.81 Eight of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Prudence The Lord of Prudence Hod Stability sephirah of individual triad Ascendant of Virgo The Sun Table 5. Prudence is the acquisition of useful and relevant advantages. and a comparison with this card will be instructive. This far down the Tree. even though “a Man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him. .ofthe stability sephirah of the individual triad.” the practical fact is that this inertia will not help him unless he is actually able to bring about the desired change. and refers to the accumulation of material advantage. Moreover. we cannot expect a full knowledge of the will. it is overly late to start building a stockpile of weapons and food when siege and war are already upon you. page 30. in the (often realised) hope that over time these advantages will combine to bring about the possibility of a decisive winning combination. and like Eight of Wands (ﬁre being the other the imposition structure inherent in 4 5 Hod does not have such a negative eﬀect as it does with the “moist” elements of water and air. The Eight of Disks is prudence.8: Correspondences of the Eight of Disks of Disks is to The Eight“dry” element)referred the Hod. even if the ultimate purpose of those advantages may not be immediately clear. We can draw an analogy with the concept of “positional play” in the game of chess. even though the nature of that combination may not be currently known. On a mundane level. but closer examination reveals that this is not so. where a player accumulates a number of small but useful advantages in their own right. The appears to contradict the admonition against an attachment to power that we gave in the previous section. knowledge and resources which may come in handy later.
. all good qualities for steadily constructing a base of power which can always be useful.82 CHAPTER 5. ensuring that the acquired advantages are relevant. and the inﬂuence of the rulership of the Sun keeps that construction centred in reality. and avoiding the error of acquiring power for power’s sake. practicality and enterprise. DISKS Virgo is associated with skill.
when considered as a means of development rather than as a description of action. This gain of the of an of rather than a question possession. The gain of the Nine of Disks is an increase in the ability of the aspirant to inﬂuence his environment.9: Correspondences of the Nine of Disks he Nine Disks is of earth Textension of inﬂuence gain. The attribution to Virgo again brings with it concepts of enterprise and skill. ultimate objective of the aspirant is to learn to turn the material world to his advantage.83 Nine of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Gain The Lord of Material Gain Yesod Resolution seph. directly above him on the middle pillar. and if he can accomplish this without ownership then ownership becomes irrelevant. of individual triad Succedent of Virgo Venus Table 5. and represents theisofelementnaturethe fully developed in the individual. and every such increase brings him closer to the success of the Six. The rulership of Venus again gives direction to this growth. and in full force in the succedent decan — reinforced and directed by the discipline and ambition from the inﬂuence of Capricorn — is well suited to the production of gain. as it represents balance and harmony. Yesod in the world of Assiah is really where the study of magick belongs. .
will be dissipated unless put to further use by devoting its power to objects other than mere accumulation. Fearth. but that it is what can be done with them that give them value. he has a surfeit of wealth at his disposal — the entire universe. We may deﬁne “wealth” in an economic sense as “anything that has utility and is capable of being appropriated or exchanged. . As Crowley says The Book of Thoth: When wealth accumulates beyond a certain point.” If the accumulation of material objects or powers is undertaken for its own sake. this card can illustrate the position of the beginning aspirant. or call in the aid of intelligence to use it rightly . towe come to the last of themanifestationtheinTenelement This is wealth. so he is unable to perceive it as wealth. of Disks.” the important point being that material possessions have no value in and of themselves. This illustrates clearly the nature of the error we described in relation to the Seven of Disks. and down here in Malkuth. the resulting stockpile may hardly be deserving of the title “wealth” if it is divorced from all practical application. This can only be done with the intervention of the other three elements. it must either become completely inert and cease to be wealth. the complete physical of the of the exclusion of the others.84 CHAPTER 5. this may imply that the acquired wealth. . As the old saying goes.6 Conversely.10: Correspondences of the Ten of Disks inally small cards. in fact — but he is ignorant of the possibilities of pressing it into his service. DISKS Ten of Disks Name (Thoth) Name (Golden Dawn) Sephirah Position on tree Decan Planetary ruler Wealth The Lord of Wealth Malkuth Physical plane Cadent of Virgo Mercury Table 5. “you cannot eat money. Moving up the Tree. the element of earth is cut oﬀ 6 See page 79. it is not until he starts to gain material inﬂuence in the Nine of Disks that he will begin to convert some of this inert material into genuine wealth. . being inert.
as does the inﬂuence of Mercury. but down here in the Ten he does not have the imagination to see this. cut oﬀ from these other elements. We described the metaphysical theory of the physical world being derived from the other three elements. The ﬁnal and cadent decan of Virgo is suggestive of the craftsman who does not know when to stop working on his masterpiece. Sooner or later. he must begin a new task. the Malkuth of the world of Assiah. being dead and inert matter without the viviﬁcation of spirit. is perfectly useless. and begin to convert some new material into wealth. . the stubborn inﬂuence of Taurus on this decan exacerbates that tendency. and resignedly continues chipping away at it.85 from those.7 and the lesson we learn in the Ten of Disks is that the physical world. and represents complete physical manifestation. the natural ruler of Virgo. This is the last card in the sequence. to its detriment. 7 See page 71.
86 CHAPTER 5. DISKS .
this is dominion.Chapter 6 Summaries of the small of the Tarot being complete. In the case of ﬁre. energy and will. the suit of Disks (earth) shows the development of the ways in which he ultimately manifests the combination of the other three elements. it is love. Our analysisimplicationsto docards summarise our ﬁndings. the relationships formed with the environment that direct that 87 . The suit of Cups (water) shows the development of structure in his being. his tendency to seek balance. of his motion. With water. The Aces The Aces represent the root of each element. The suit of Wands (ﬁre) shows the progression through the individual. but are otherwise almost wholly devoid of character. and the ways in which his intellect or executive faculty can help or hinder that reconciliation. and how he ultimately creates and is subject to the motions and structures of the physical world. Finally. from conception to complete physical manifestation. and our understanding of our Qabalistic framework. The suit of Swords (air) shows the development of his ability to reconcile these two facets of his being. being referred to the unity of Kether. The Twos The Twos show the ideal nature of each element.Tarot all that remains for us is to and to examine their on both our understanding of the itself. the ability to impose one’s will. harmony and order.
at which point it becomes able to perceive itself. works is the structuring of physical change to form a type of engine for the purposes of generating power. forming as they do the apices and the resolutions of the actual and individual triads respectively. The ideas of dominion and change are clearly suggestive of motion.” 1 Extension 2 The itself being a dynamic process. The succedent decan of each sign is the central one. but it is also natural to attribute them to Binah. 3 i. is an evaluative concept of motion.” balanced and whole. terms here should not be confused with the idea of morality. sorrow arises inevitably from the structuring of the intellect. and the Nines (referring to Yesod.88 CHAPTER 6. this sense of separation3 being the root of suﬀering. the harmonious conjunction of the structure of Binah with the motion of Chokmah. Relating as they do to the completion of the ideal (Binah being the ﬁnal sephirah in the archetypal triad). as the Sixes (referring to Tiphareth. the Threes are attributed to the succedent decan of the cardinal sign of each element. The Threes The Threes show the completion of the ideal. sandwiched between the ascendant and cadent decans.”2 and this evaluation can only be made against the background of a structure. the ﬁnal sephirah in the actual triad) are attributed to the succedent decan of the ﬁxed sign of each element. Virtue. abundance refers to the inﬁnite variety of opportunities for love that the structure of the universe provides. and show the element in “full force. for earth. see page 32. It should be natural to attribute these decans to Tiphareth and Yesod. the result of their harmonious reconciliation. despite the fact that this sephirah does not appear on the middle pillar. their harmonious and living conjunction. by implication in accordance with both will and nature. it is change. and representative of ideal motion in the ﬁrst extension1 from Kether. For Swords. The peace of the Two of Swords must also be dynamic to be eﬀective. Finally.” . it is peace. the ﬁnal sephirah in the individual triad) are attributed to the succedent decan of the mutable sign of each element. “right action” as opposed to “wrong action. the perfect and dynamic reconciliation of will and love. In the case of Cups. in the case of Wands. there is no question of Binah being “unbalanced. Being above the Abyss. of a structural distinction between “self” and “not-self. For air. All the Twos are attributed to Chokmah. Finally. as is love when considered as a process rather than a state. SUMMARIES will.e.
form and motion are interdependent. the Fours are structural cards. rather. but being actual is more tenuous. the “downfall” shadowed in the Fours is the disturbance of the structure created in that number. and cannot exist apart from each other. For the same reason. so this idea of “form preceding motion” is suggestive only. as the last sephirah before the Abyss. the Four of Disks is power. signifying that in the physical world form must “precede” motion. . notwithstanding the fact that Binah is “oﬀ-centre. they are naturally attributed to the cadent decan of the cardinal element of each sign. as we described on page 9. In all cases. the completion of the archetypal triad is the natural place for the succedent decan. 4 In reality. the ﬁrst steps into actual manifestation. we could take a “bottom-up” approach and state that Chesed. the results of the structural harnessing of physical change. Being attributed to Chesed. and owing to the Second Law of Thermodynamics must necessarily be temporary. requiring active maintenance. or attachment to inappropriate objects.4 Alternatively. As such. this completion can only be temporary. The Four of Wands is completion. a development of the structural abundance of the Three. The nature of will being dynamic. represents the fulﬁllment of physical objectives. whilst in the ideal world motion (being the initial extension from formlessness) must come ﬁrst. as the will cannot rest. and each of the Fours — although uniformly “positive” — contain the seeds of their own downfall for this reason. which is precisely what the cadent decans represent. and it is ﬁtting for Chesed to represent the “fading away” of the ideal perfection of the Supernals. the full manifestation of will. the perfection of the Supernals is lost. again a structural reconciliation resembling the peace of the Two. the ascendant and succedent decans of the cardinal signs are attributed to Chokmah and Binah.” The Fours The Fours show the ﬁrst appearance of each element on this side of the Abyss. Finally. but containing the ﬁrst hint of the great danger of the element of water which is pollution. The Four of Cups is luxury. Truce is the Four of Swords.89 and being ideals there is no need for either Chokmah or Binah to “resolve” into a lower sephirah. this being naturally a structural concept.
and suﬀer none of the problems of manifestation. there is no need for force and motion to be “reconciled. rather than in Kether. In the case of water.90 CHAPTER 6. the Sixes show the best practical functioning of each of the elements in the actual world. Defeat represents the motion away from the temporary truce in the case of air. Binah being followed by Chesed — both “form” sephiroth — and Geburah being followed (after Tiphareth) by Netzach — both “force” sephiroth. disappointment is the direct result of the “attachment to inappropriate objects” that was foreshadowed in the luxury of the Four. the accomplishment of objectives . Both Chokmah and Geburah.” and the association with motion is natural. and its reaction to a status quo. two. The “form” and “force” sephirah of each triad switch between the left and right pillars with each triad.” since they are ideal. The ascendant decans represent the ﬁrst appearance of each sign. the motion sephiroth of the archetypal and actual triads. the ﬁrst reconciliation sephirah we come to on the journey down the Tree). respectively.” and any attempt to deny this will lead to trouble. For ﬁre. Below the Abyss. for earth. respectively. and as such indicate the aspects of the actual nature of the individual object as shown in the four elements. one. Above the Abyss. as we have said. Geburah is a motion sephirah. however. so the pattern is reversed” but we must be careful not to try and push a pattern too far. This pattern does not repeat in the individual triad. and the Fives show that downfall itself. and it is this motion that disturbs the structure in the Fours. We could argue that “all is reﬂection in the individual triad. results from an attachment to power for its own sake. The Six of Wands is victory. its “initial onrush. strife is the disturbance of completion. In other words. are attributed to the ascendant decans of the cardinal and ﬁxed signs of the element. the physical realities of existence dictate that “change is stability and stability is change. SUMMARIES The Fives The Fours contain the seeds of the downfall of their elements. the inherent restlessness of the will. The Sixes Returning to the middle pillar. and only works for these two because we begin the sequence at Chokmah. the Sixes represent the reconciliation of structure and motion in the actual plane (indeed. and worry.
especially so since the description of them in this essay as “actual triad” and “individual triad” breaks with convention. and it is the imperfection of this reﬂection that is posited as being the source of suﬀering and discomfort.91 through will. structure and their reconciliation in the “true self.” and it is through this veil that the reﬂection is ﬁltered and distorted (the distortion is necessary. veiled in a “conscious” self which is self-aware and serves as the experiential vehicle of the true self. The nature of this degradation will be discussed individually in each case. The Six of Swords is science. The Six of Cups is pleasure. broadly deﬁned. like the Fives. perception requiring at least a perceiver. the ultimate end result of all this. the Veil of Paroketh represents the distinction between these two “selves. for such is its purpose. A Note on the Veil of Paroketh There are two downward pointing triads on the Tree of Life. The downward pointing actual triad represents motion.5 Since the “conscious self” is distinct from the “true self” (and this distinction is necessary for self-awareness. The Sevens The Sevens. according to Thelemic metaphysics. . the “conscious self” having its own nature which it can never fully shake oﬀ). showing the impartial application of the intellect in harmoniously reconciling will and love in order that the “right victory” may be attained.” The latter three sephiroth are ultimately reﬂections of the former three. and a distinct thing being perceived) the former can only receive a reﬂection of the true nature from the latter. The essential fact of individuality. In the case of 5 See The Khabs is in The Khu for a fuller exposition of this idea. are attributed to a motion sephirah.” whereas the downward pointing individual triad represents motion. and the distinction between them is important to understand. is the existence of a “true” or “actual” self which embodies the actual nature of the individual. and the Six of Disks is success. but being reﬂections they are necessarily a degraded form. but this time on the individual rather than the actual plane. structure and their reconciliation in the “conscious self. In our Qabalistic framework. representing both the fruits of that victory and its motivation.
but the valour of the seven is speciﬁcally directed to a particular state. For Swords. and whereas the reconciliation in the actual triad represents the formulation of the actual nature of the individual. SUMMARIES ﬁre. more accurately. The Nines The second and ﬁnal reconciliation sephirah is Yesod. the victory of the Six. a concept which cannot be present above the Veil of Paroketh. in the individual plane. valour is a specifically conscious concept. or. futility. For water. diplomacy turned into tyranny. The strife of the Five is more of a general protest against imposed structure. There is an interesting distinction in the Eights in that the Eights of Wands and Disks appear to be broadly “positive. The Seven of Swords is suggestive of “beating a dead horse. for earth. a stagnant and lifeless clinging to the luxury of the Four which has long since ceased to satisfy.” which as we described on page 30 resist the imposition of form.” whereas the Eights of Cups and Swords appear to be broadly “negative. and are degraded forms of the Fours.” Wands and Disks are “dry elements. the Eight of Disks is prudence. swiftness refers to the structuring of will to allow for eﬃcient application. valour is the motivating side of will in the individual. Whereas strife is a simple reﬂection of the dynamic nature of the self. the individual’s conscious reaction to it.” Finally. namely. in this case that of defeat. like the Seven of Cups. Valour is suggestive of courage in the face of adversity. since the true self existing there is not self-aware. cruelty is the forced imposition of truce taken too far. For Wands. The Eight of Cups is indolence. addictive pursuit of satisfaction. debauch is a degraded reaction to the disappointment of the Five. that which drives him to strive towards his objectives.92 CHAPTER 6. the stability sephirah of the individual triad. the reconciliation in . a mad. The Eights The Eights are attributed to Hod. and are thus somewhat immune to any negative impact of the structure of Hod. It shows the corruption of love through excessive motion in the individual. is a continuing refusal to learn the lessons of the Five. Finally. the gradual accumulation of material advantage which will one day be capable of producing the power of the Four. which is a long way from the actual completion of the Four. failure is the actual loss of power foreshadowed in the Five. In the case of air.
the notion that nothing can satisfy in the absence of a will which has objectives. The Nine of Swords is cruelty. and this element is unique in that respect. It is natural to suppose that the purpose of ﬁre in the individual is to give him the strength to attain to happiness and success.” The Nine of Disks is gain. ceases to become wealth at all. and the full practical manifestation of it in Yesod (by which time its powers of analysis and division have developed so well as to separate it entirely from the “true self” in Tiphareth) cannot avoid these problems. is the element of earth. The Tens show the result of leaving each element to its own devices. cutting oﬀ the “conscious self” from its source in the “true self. or the “happy-go-lucky” man.93 the individual triad represents the formulation of the reﬂected nature. Malkuth represents the complete physical manifestations of the elements to the exclusion of the others. The Ten of Disks is wealth. 8 Particurly when this is “self oppression. The Tens Finally. being a secondary element. The nines show the “full impact of the elemental force” in the individual.6 and the root of suﬀering can be simplistically reduced to the failure of the self-aware intellect to accept this. the victory of the Six is degraded into mere strength. being above the Abyss. as opposed to the joyous ecstasy of pleasure. the senseless and purposeless application of force. as a son will almost inevitably rebel in his youth against the values of his parents.”7 As such. Air. the pleasure of the Six degrades into mere happiness. which is suggestive of contentment. both the completion of the archetypal triad in Binah and the completion of the individual triad in Yesod result in apparently “negative” cards. The Ten of Swords is ruin. The Ten of Wands is oppression. the “problem” in Binah remains a potential one only. the impartial analysis in the Six having been taken too far. In the case of ﬁre.” 7 Much 6 As . and made to serve its own purposes. For water. is essentially subservient. but earth is too dull and inert to care. and to substitute its own values for those of the “true self. a mere element on the ladder to the success of the Six. representing an enormous stock of resources which. It is instructive to note that for the element of air. in the absence of an independent practical use. although.8 The Ten of Cups is satiety. both the initial structuring of the element in Binah which allows for its awareness. the ultimate eﬀect of analysis taken to extremes.
94 CHAPTER 6. Malkuth. and represented the ﬁrst perception in the aspirant of the light of spirit. . spirit. in that order. into the equation. SUMMARIES The Tens show the necessity of introducing the ﬁfth element. air. and the attainment to Tiphareth — representing contact with the “true self” — was attributed to the ﬁfth element of spirit. a ﬁrst glimpse of his “true self” reﬂected from Tiphareth above the elements. 9 In the Golden Dawn tradition. water and ﬁre. which in the Golden Dawn tradition began in Malkuth. Hod and Netzach — the sephiroth below the Veil of Paroketh — were attributed to earth. Yesod. Spirit is associated with initiation.9 which would be his guide towards integrating them under a common banner. through which all four elements can be brought into coordination.
1: Attributions of the Suit of Wands 95 .Appendix A Reference Tables Wands No. Ace Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Title Root of Fire Dominion Virtue Completion Strife Victory Valour Swiftness Strength Oppression Sign — Aries Aries Aries Leo Leo Leo Sagittarius Sagittarius Sagittarius Decan — Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ruler — Mars The Sun Venus Saturn Jupiter Mars Mercury The Moon Saturn Table A.
REFERENCE TABLES Cups No.96 APPENDIX A. Ace Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Title Root of Air Peace Sorrow Truce Defeat Science Futility Interference Cruelty Ruin Sign — Libra Libra Libra Aquarius Aquarius Aquarius Gemini Gemini Gemini Decan — Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ruler — The Moon Saturn Jupiter Venus Mercury The Moon Jupiter Mars The Sun Table A.2: Attributions of the Suit of Cups Swords No.3: Attributions of the Suit of Swords . Ace Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Title Root of Water Love Abundance Luxury Disappointment Pleasure Debauch Indolence Happiness Satiety Sign — Cancer Cancer Cancer Scorpio Scorpio Scorpio Pisces Pisces Pisces Decan — Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ruler — Venus Mercury The Moon Mars The Sun Venus Saturn Jupiter Mars Table A.
97 Disks No.4: Attributions of the Suit of Disks . Ace Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Title Root of Earth Change Works Power Worry Success Failure Prudence Gain Wealth Sign — Capricorn Capricorn Capricorn Taurus Taurus Taurus Virgo Virgo Virgo Decan — Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ascendant Succedent Cadent Ruler — Jupiter Mars The Sun Mercury The Moon Saturn The Sun Venus Mercury Table A.
REFERENCE TABLES .98 APPENDIX A.
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100 BIBLIOGRAPHY .
2. 87. 60. 94 hearts (suit of). 50. 43. 13. 19. 92 ego. 64–70. 76. 75. 62. 53. 40 inertia. 39 emotional wealth. 7. 1. 22 clubs (suit of). 15. 74 Kether. 13 free will. 34 falsehood. 79. 40. 91. temporal. 63. 50. 63 law. 66 character. 52 empire. 4 centre of gravity. 48 electrical circuit. 75 101 . 48. 31 Golden Dawn. 50. 18–20. 76. 80. 12. 8. 30. 61. 91 knowledge. 16 indiﬀerence. 1. 11. 22. kinetic. 10. 61 ineﬃciency. 15. 31. 30 eﬃciency. 22. 30 diplomacy. 69 latent energy. 63. 88. 18. 79 enlightenment. 63 machine. 69. 51. 43. 19. 7. natural. 92 dryness. 74 energy. 51. 57. Hermetic Order of. Aleister. 75. 15. 12. 54. 92 amniotic ﬂuid. 33. 20 attachment. 90 Big Bang theory. 45 analysis. 47. 53. 65. 33 energy. 27. 2. 20. 36.Index Abyss. vii diamonds (suit of). 39 Crowley. 78. 32 chess. 93 addiction. 62. 30 Holy Guardian Angel. 93 internal combustion engine. 94 intellect. 81 classiﬁcation. 91. 40 fate. 62 entropy. 39 electrical current. 29 law. 30 astral universe. 66. 91 Khu. 29 Khabs. 30 conscious self. 88–90. 63 law. 74 engine. 60. 65. 54. 22. 11. chemical. physical. 10–13. 93 Aristotle. 81 initiation. 93 constraint. 32. 42. 60.
72. 81. 13. 60 INDEX Tetragrammaton. 20. 55. 14. 2–4. 13 Qliphoth. 60. 90 string theory. 40. 40 true self. 5 spades (suit of). 91 Thermodynamics. 79 surplus. 81 predestination. 12. 50 symbolism. 62. 15–17. 41. 75 space. 13 personality. 94 stagnation. 91. 25 reason. 84 Veil of Paroketh. 93. 83 Master of the Temple. 15–17. 27 . 73. 8–10. 48. 3. ix Pan. 12. 15–17.102 magical power. 20. 92 status quo. 94 vices. 68. 91. 88. 32. 19. vii Tree of Life. 66. 24 order of the planets. 48 playing cards. 13. 73 paths. 67 separation. 20. vii synthesis. 72. 22. 30 spirit. 56. 88. 13. 18. 42. 38. 41 moistness. 2. 23. 62–65. 10 suﬀering. 26. 22. 93 self-awareness. 30. 89 Thoth Tarot. 62. 75 worlds. 38 utility. 24. 71 Thelema. 2. vii. 80. 16. 69 self oppression. 56. 32. 30 positional play. 69 restriction. 62 universal will. viii. 45 work. 66. 94 true will. 1. 34. 29. 1. 91. 20. 88 Solar System. 39. 32. 80. 34. 59. viii. 20. Second Law of. 77 magick. 6. 30 morality. 74. 16. 2 universal sorrow. 92 mind. 22. 91 trickery. 40. 22. 2. 88 negative veils. 93 self-interest. 16. 27. 25 womb. 54. 60. 25 virtues. 70 material advantage. 81 trumps. 20. 10. 45. 91 sunk costs. 61. 11 pentagram. 18. 79.
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